Dia Frampton: Red Album Review

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Dia Frampton
Record Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Track Listing:
01. Don’t Kick the Chair
02. Isabella
03. The Broken Ones
04. Good Boy
05. I Will
06. Billy the Kid
07. Daniel
08. Walk Away
09. Bullseye
10. Trapeze
11. Homeless
12. Hearts Out to Dry

When news of a solo album from Dia Frampton came out, the first thought that popped into my mind was, “This will be just like a Meg & Dia record.” I was delighted to find that I was wrong in thinking that. The initial shock of hearing the first song off Dia’s solo album, Red, came from the studio polished dance pop sound of “Isabella.” However, the shock isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This new sound intrigued me and had me wanting to hear the entire album.

Red kicks off on a great start with “Isabella,” an upbeat dance-pop sound with a bit of indie-folk in it. It shows of the new sound of Dia Frampton but it channels the sound of Meg & Dia. Its catchy chorus’ are something you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Actually, the chorus’ throughout Red are unforgettable. This electro-dance-pop is an unexpected and yet wonderful progression in Dia’s career. “Don’t Kick the Chair” continues with this dance-pop sound with a surprising appearance by Kid Cudi. He is certainly an artist you wouldn’t associate with Dia Frampton if you’ve heard any Meg & Dia albums but this collaboration certainly works. “Don’t Kick the Chair” is catchy in all the right ways.

The dance-pop sound may be a startling departure from her past work but Dia still manages to slip in songs that are a mix between Meg & Dia’s Here, Here and Here and Cocoon. “The Broken Ones” is exactly that. It’s a step back from the dance-pop sound of the two previous tracks but it still carries a strong pop sound with lyrics that Dia Frampton is known for creating. Her lyricism throughout Red is what Dia has always delivered, catchy lyrics that are all her own. These days, artists are bringing in co-writes so much so that songs are barely even them anymore. It’s refreshing to know these songs are completely Dia Frampton.

“Good Boy” continues with the polished pop sound and the insanely catchy chorus’. A definite highlight of the album, it gets you swaying to the beat and singing along instantly. Of course Blake Shelton, the man who gave her a chance, had to featured somewhere on this album. “I Will” takes a step away from the dance pop sound and has a bit of that country twang. It’s a beautiful duet and it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

“Daniel” takes on an indie sound that Dia Frampton is known for. Still hanging onto a polished sound, the production add-ons are held back. It’s a simple yet heartbreaking song about lost love that truly highlights Dia’s voice. Throughout Red, there’s not one song that doesn’t have Dia Frampton’s thoughtful lyrics and captivating chorus’. “Walk Away” is a prime example of this. It steps back into the pop sound in a commanding way. It instantly catches your attention and will have you humming its tune all day.

Red certainly blew away any initial inklings that I had that a solo album from Dia Frampton would be a continuation of a Meg & Dia record. It just goes to show that whatever musical direction Dia Frampton picks, she will put in her unique touch and it will be a masterpiece. She’s truly come a long way from recording in her mother’s kitchen. With a label behind her, Dia used everything at her grasp to create a great album. Red has all the aspects that made fans love Meg & Dia records but with a Dia Frampton touch. This is truly a solo album done well. Long time fans may be surprised at the choice of musical direction, but Dia Frampton touch will keep fans listening.

Rating: 9/10

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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