Blackbook – Radio Strange

An affirming ode to all outsiders in black

Blackbook - Radio Strange

Album facts

Release Date: April 26th, 2024
Label: darkTunes Music Group
Tags: , , , ,
Discogs: (Not avail­able yet)
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Priest, Modern Talking, Michael Jackson
Final score: 4.8 stars
Matching album cliches: 0 / 7

Blackbook's latest work, "Radio Strange", mani­fests itself as an extraordin­ary com­pil­a­tion that cap­tures the best of synth pop and elec­tro pop. It's like listen­ing to a best-of album, so seam­less and bril­liant are the genre mixes on this album. Nevertheless, the main focus is on catchy synth pop. Each track exceeds expect­a­tions with ease and presents itself with catchy melod­ies that are instantly mem­or­able. Let's dive into the details of the album

Explosive opening with a twist

The first few notes of the open­er "Under The Radar" sound as if a new Mallorca sum­mer hit is about to hit the air­waves and is doomed to be played on a con­tinu­ous loop all sum­mer long. But what fol­lowed clearly exceeded my expect­a­tions. The album's open­er "Radio Strange" draws a cap­tiv­at­ing line between irony and icon­ic with its first notes. As soon as the first verse kicks in, a bril­liant synth pop sound unfolds that won't let go. In the chor­us, the Mallorca melody comes back to life, but it is pre­cisely this subtle twist that gives the song an unex­pec­ted depth. A strong start that makes you curi­ous for more.

Electrifying nightlife anthems

The second song "Out With A Bang" is dirty and party-like anim­al and an abso­lute must-have for every dark club night. This song fuses raw, techno-like sounds with the char­ac­ter­ist­ic style of synth pop, cre­at­ing an intox­ic­at­ing atmo­sphere that will get any dance­floor shak­ing. The lyr­ics speak dir­ectly to our little scene, com­bin­ing catchy pas­sages with pro­found thoughts to enhance the intense exper­i­ence. So DJs of the dark scene – put this song on at peak time and watch how it elec­tri­fies the crowd. A real club banger that should not be miss­ing from any playl­ist in 2024!

I’m not in sync
In sync with society
Its hate­ful embrace
Is smoth­er­ing me
Lyrics from "Out With A Bang" by "Blackbook"

"Echoes And Shadows" fas­cin­ated me from the very first note. This song is an elec­tron­ic jour­ney that imme­di­ately casts a spell over the listen­er. The pulsat­ing rhythm almost invites you to dance and leaves no one stand­ing still. The seam­less trans­itions between the verses and the catchy chor­us ensure that you won't be able to get the song out of your head. For lov­ers of deep elec­tron­ic sounds with a power­ful beat, this track is an abso­lute must. A bril­liant piece that per­fectly cap­tures the essence of syn­thpop and electropop.

Anthem of individuality and deep beats

As a pas­sion­ate fan of synth pop and elec­tro pop, I have to say that Blackbook has cre­ated a real gem with "You Are Strange" from their album "Radio Strange". This song imme­di­ately burnt itself into my con­scious­ness and won't let me go. The catchy chor­us "You're strange. You're strange. So strange. I hope you'll nev­er change." seems like a declar­a­tion of indi­vidu­al­ity and res­on­ates with the soul of all those who res­ist the mainstream.
'The song's mes­sage is power­ful and inspir­ing: stay true to your­self and attract the right people. I can't think of a bet­ter track that so clearly and power­fully con­veys the essence of what true self-accept­ance means. A mas­ter­piece that deserves far more than the usu­al five stars. ‘You Are Strange’ is a black anthem for which I will be etern­ally grate­ful to Blackbook.

This is the truth
I nev­er met a stranger I could trust
Until I met you
I nev­er had a lov­er I could talk to
I’m finally through
With feel­ing bad about my anger
And finally through
Feeling sorry for myself
Lyrics from "You Are Strange" by "Blackbook"

Blackbook (Promo photo)
Blackbook (Promo photo)

"Normal" is a true mas­ter­piece for all lov­ers of dark elec­tron­ic music. With its per­fect fusion of synth pop and dark wave, the song opens up an atmo­spher­ic jour­ney that explores pro­found ques­tions of ‘being nor­mal’. It appeals not only to the goth­ic scene, but to all those who pos­i­tion them­selves out­side the main­stream. Furthermore "Normal" proves to be an anthem for the cel­eb­ra­tion of being dif­fer­ent, a clear mes­sage that is of great import­ance in a world where indi­vidu­al­ity and the desire for nor­mal­ity often col­lide. The track's music­al DNA is defined by a crisp beat that is typ­ic­al of Blackbook and instantly captivating.
The bridge of the song is par­tic­u­larly impress­ive, accel­er­at­ing the tempo with almost mil­it­ary pre­ci­sion and lend­ing the track an ener­get­ic urgency. The ‘Tatatatata’ of the bridge is like a call to action that not only encour­ages dan­cing, but also reflec­tion. With ‘Normal’, Blackbook make a music­al state­ment that you won't for­get in a hurry and that takes the listen­er both to the dance floor and into deep­er reflection.

When I was fifteen
A girl I’d nev­er seen
Took one look at me
And told me I was ugly
How does it feel to be normal?
How does it feel to fit in?
How does it feel to be normal?
Do you feel any­thing at all?
Lyrics from "Normal" by "Blackbook"

Retro vibes and haunting melodies

On the album "Radio Strange", I was par­tic­u­larly impressed by the crisp song "Haunted Love". This song, an essen­tial track for any black Halloween party, is a real eye-catch­er with its catchy melody and numer­ous creepy samples and sounds – or rather, a listen­ing pleas­ure. You can also find it on our "ELECTROWEEN – A dark wave and synth pop Halloween playl­ist". With a mix that makes even the clas­sic ‘Thriller’ look pale (wink smi­ley), the song proves that it is more than just a sea­son­al hit. A cap­tiv­at­ing synth pop ear­worm that stays in the memory.

From the very first beat of "The City Sleeps", I felt trans­por­ted back to the neon-lit streets of the 80s, sur­roun­ded by the sounds of clas­sics such as "Knight Rider", "Miami Vice" and "Airwolf". The pro­duc­tion is in keep­ing with the aes­thet­ics of syn­thwave, but adds its own mod­ern accents with the power­ful bass, which imme­di­ately invites you to tap along. The "Ta Da" sounds in par­tic­u­lar (example from 01:48 minutes), which are remin­is­cent of "Modern Talking", add a charm­ing touch and make the song stand out from the crowd. A grip­ping piece that makes retro hearts like mine beat faster.

Romantic interlude and club bangers

I imme­di­ately recog­nise myself in "Beautiful Lies" from "Radio Strange". These tunes also come at exactly the right point on the album. The romantic sounds of this song offer a wel­come change on the album, which is oth­er­wise dom­in­ated by dance­able, ener­get­ic tracks. What's sur­pris­ing is how the song works as a love anthem without fall­ing into cheesy clichés. It's a rev­el­a­tion how well a sax­o­phone bridge works here – nor­mally an ele­ment that doesn't appeal to me. "Beautiful Lies" there­fore enchants not only with its sound, but also with its refresh­ing authen­ti­city. Full marks again.

Beautiful lies, beau­ti­ful lies
Even the blind always look twice
What if you’re wrong, what if you’re right
What if it’s all a ques­tion of time
Beautiful lies
Beautiful eyes
Lyrics from "Beautiful Lies" by "Blackbook"

In the track "Painkiller", I imme­di­ately feel cata­pul­ted into the depths of a night of dan­cing. This song is an explos­ive mix of speed and pre­ci­sion that will cause a dance­able det­on­a­tion in any club. The elec­tron­ic power behind the beats is irres­ist­ible, and the chor­us, which you can still sing along to even when you're almost 2 pro­mille, is evid­ence of real hit qual­ity. "Painkiller" is simply a mas­ter­piece of catchi­ness – per­fectly mixed, ideal in length and so simple that every note fits. A guar­an­teed ear­worm that leaves noth­ing to be desired.

Synth pop excellence

As a pas­sion­ate fan of elec­tron­ic, pro­found music and an avowed fol­low­er of the goth­ic scene, I have a pro­found affin­ity with the band's song "Here In The Night". The very first verse weaves a nos­tal­gic pic­ture that can hardly be sur­passed in its intim­acy and exclus­iv­ity. Only those who truly under­stand will feel the deep con­nec­tion that this song cre­ates. The syn­thes­iser sounds are exquis­itely chosen and are in no way inferi­or to the legendary "Depeche Mode" or "Pet Shop Boys". This song is a real gem that you will want to enjoy again and again.

We used to listen to the radio
Early morn­ing BBC
Playing mix­tapes on your stereo
Duran Duran and Morrissey
Lyrics from "Here In The Night" by "Blackbook"

After 10 songs of the really unbe­liev­ably fant­ast­ic album "Radio Strange", I thought it would cer­tainly get a little weak­er towards the end. But fid­dle­sticks, because then the next catchy tune "Everybody Is A Nobody" blasts through the speak­ers and I just think: "How the hell do you bang out one hit after anoth­er on an album like this?". I check again very care­fully and real­ise: "No, this isn't a damn best of album, but it sounds like one". I already thought the debut album "Confessions Of The Innocent" was extremely strong back then, but this 2024 album tops everything I've heard recently. The power and cha­risma of this song is a true testi­mo­ni­al to the band's cre­at­ive brilliance.

A triumphant finale

In the album's finale, "No Way Out" seam­lessly picks up on the epic sound that star­ted it all and takes it to a tri­umphant cli­max. This final track almost pays homage to the Swedish band "Priest", with the arpeg­gia­t­or bass­line skil­fully cap­tur­ing the char­ac­ter­ist­ic sound. The multi-layered struc­ture of the song leaves noth­ing to be desired and cre­ates an atmo­spher­ic dens­ity that is unri­valled. As the last note fades away, I feel a bit­ter­sweet mel­an­choly paired with a deep bliss that has rarely touched me so deeply.

"Radio Strange" is a god-damn fucking best of synth pop album!

Obey memeObey! Buy this album! Buy this album! Buy this album! "Radio Strange" is by far the best synth pop album in many years. Blackbook's place as the best synth pop album of 2024 can hardly be chal­lenged. We've rarely had such a high over­all rat­ing, so I can count them on one hand. I take my hat off to Blackbook and the album "Radio Strange". Yes, I've become a bit of a fan boy over the last few years, but with this album, the band has a place in my heart for a life­time. Thanks a mil­lion for this fan­stast­ic music and I hope you con­tin­ue for many years to come.

Track by track rating for: Blackbook – Radio Strange

Blackbook - Radio Strange
Blackbook – Radio Strange
Under The Radar
Out With A Bang
Echoes And Shadows
You Are Strange
Haunted Love
The City Sleeps
Beautiful Lies
Here In The Night
Everybody Is A Nobody
No Way Out
Out With A Bang
Echoes And Shadows
You Are Strange
Beautiful Lies
Everybody Is A Nobody
(Nothing to report here)

Typical album cliché list for: Blackbook – Radio Strange

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Under The Radar
Out With A Bang
Echoes And Shadows
You Are Strange
Haunted Love
The City Sleeps
Beautiful Lies
Here In The Night
Everybody Is A Nobody
No Way Out
Final Score