Album Review: Logan X

By: Nichi Smith

Logan X, an electronic pop artist from Valparaiso, recently released his first single “Black Leather” bringing a fresh sound to the pop landscape. The track harkens to both progressive pop sounds similar to Lady Gaga as well as the backgrounds of Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

“Black Leather” opens with rhythmic synthesized sounds setting a flat mood allowing for the vocals to break in with an audible splash. The music brings imagery of a pumping scene with someone arriving to start the party. The vocals immediately unleash sexual energy purely through tone. Soon enough though, the lyrics make clear the sex and party theme one would expect from pop and EDM is incredibly present. It isn’t a meta-commentary of the music scene; it isn’t bringing anything particularly new to the table in terms of expressive content. Upbeat songs about having a good time with sexual undertones is perhaps the most common theme in contemporary pop and Logan X plays it straight.

The music, however, refreshes my ears with its distinctive sound. The play with dynamics is perhaps the most notable difference between Logan X and currently charting artists. Silence is interspersed liberally and the full range of dynamics are subtly used, making the track, at the very least, interesting. At the same time, it steers clear of full-blown progressive territory with its repetitiveness. The chorus is used several times, as one may expect for a chorus in a pop song, and the background synthesizers are reused quite a bit, though that fits with the EDM side. So while it innovates on the micro level, the form of the song is ultimately a fusion of two very repetitive styles.

The hook, “Black leather babe, it feels so damn right, so damn right, black leather babe, black leather babe” sticks in your head for days and the similarity in sound to the rest of the song makes it organically flow to other portions of the song.

In an interview he described some of the songs to expect on his EP coming out this month. The general feel is expected to stay the same which makes quite a bit of sense since he’ll be doing live shows with a dance/party variety of theme. Entitled “Oral Fixation” with a provocative photograph of the artist on the cover, of course wearing copious amounts of black leather, more primal energy is promised through the countless layers of mixed synth.

Prior to debuting on his solo career Logan X mixed for many other musicians and learned from people already successful in the industry. His experience in working with recorded music shines through in “Black Leather” as polyphonic textures and countermelodies snap together. It will be interesting to see how it translates to live performances. Electronic music already has unusual challenges to overcome going live and the sheer complexity will demand either simpler renditions or skillful timing. Nonetheless, I fully expect the EP to be filled with cleanly mastered, catchy pop tunes.

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