Brazil's CSS release their follow-up to 2006's "Cansei de Ser Sexy" ("I got tired of being sexy"). They've toured worldwide a number of times with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Ladytron, Klaxons, and Diplo, and played festiva... more »ls from Coachella, Pitchfork, and Virgin to Reading, Benicassim, Roskilde, and beyond. "Donkey" is tough, street-ready, and recreates the frenetic energy of their live shows. Equal parts dance party, urban circus, and out-and-out chaos.« less
Brazil's CSS release their follow-up to 2006's "Cansei de Ser Sexy" ("I got tired of being sexy"). They've toured worldwide a number of times with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Ladytron, Klaxons, and Diplo, and played festivals from Coachella, Pitchfork, and Virgin to Reading, Benicassim, Roskilde, and beyond. "Donkey" is tough, street-ready, and recreates the frenetic energy of their live shows. Equal parts dance party, urban circus, and out-and-out chaos.
Cale E. Reneau | Conroe, Texas United States | 07/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A few years back, I'm flipping through the pages of a music magazine when I happen upon an article proclaiming a practically unknown Brazilian band named Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS, to be the greatest thing since sliced bread (more or less). Being the blindly-led sheep that I find myself to be when it comes to music, I check out their debut, self-titled album, listen to it a few times, and set it aside. I forget about it. And then, like most, I see that dang iPod Touch commercial featuring the unquestionably intoxicating "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex" and I'm hooked. But just on that one song. For as praised as CSS was, I just never gave it the chance it deserved.
For their second album, Donkey, the raucous Brazilians are back, once again trying to party their way into my heart. Though my first listen was rather un-noteworthy (I was admittedly, pretty distracted), every listen since then has been an exciting, infectious affair that I just can't get enough. The punchy drums and bouncy bass line that heralds the start of "Jager Yoga" drew me into what has quickly become my favorite song on Donkey. The mononymous Lovefoxxx shelves singing for a more energetic, in-your-face styling of vocalization - sounding something like a subdued cheerleader. Her declaration of "We didn't come into the world/ to walk around/ we came here/ to take you out," is unbelievably catchy, and listeners will undoubtedly find themselves shouting right along with her.
But for as catchy as CSS has always been, they've also spent the majority of their time straddling the line between enchantingly obnoxious and downright annoying, rarely crossing over to the dark side. On first single, "Rat is Dead (Rage)," however, Lovefoxx's vocals are highly off-putting. The first time I heard her say, "She screamed so LOUD," chills went up my spine. By the last time it comes around, I practically felt like glass shattering. Fortunately, she and the band make up for their misstep with the contagious dance epic, "Let's Reggae All Night." The production here is among the album's best, with a very cool 80s new wave-esque sample playing at the end of every bar. This one is definitely a favorite.
While the first three songs on Donkey are in no way revolutionary for CSS, fans will immediately notice a new level of polish on the album that will either be a welcomed addition or an upsetting annoyance - the disappearance of dirty, sexy, punk stylings for a more poppy, clean sound. Kiss those dirty guitars goodbye. The added polish gives the band an uncanny resemblance to Canadian pop band, Metric, a personal favorite. This new approach isn't limited to the album's first tracks, however, but spread across the entirety of Donkey. The good news is that, aside from "Rat is Dead (Rage)," this is an incredibly solid pop album, severely lacking in the dud tracks that often populate the genre.
Highlights include the thick, wet synths and sliding guitars of "Left Behind," the 80s pop stylings of "Move," and the inescapably sweet chorus of "Believe Achieve" ("I believe that love was created just for me and you. People say it's not, but I know it's true!"). But every song on this album is great in its own way, and all of them will get you moving whether you like it or not. You may not feel the need to get all sweaty and dirty, as CSS's debut undoubtedly inspired, but Donkey is far from a sophomore slump. If anything, it proves the universality of great pop music and its ability to take so many different forms, yet always inspire the same, jubilant reaction. If you feel like dancing, grinding, or just getting downright rowdy, Donkey comes highly recommended.
Key Tracks: 1. "Jager Yoga" 2. "Let's Raggae All Night" 3. "How I Became Paranoid" 4. "Move" 5. "Believe Achieve"
8 out of 10 Stars"
CSS Reach for the Masses
Rogue H | Austin, TX | 06/07/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After releasing their first (self titled) album, CSS in many ways was the epitome of indie music, because they were wholly unique. The electronica, reggae, and disco-inspired music featured raw foul-mouthed lyrics performed by the sexy voiced lead singer Lovefoxx. Understandably, indie fans had very high expectations for CSS leading into their sophomore effort.
Although the new album is undeniably catchy, CSS seem to have lost their mojo. The raw screeching lyrics and gyrating rhythms of the band's prior work are now replaced by vanilla lyrics and studio-smoothed beats. While the band's first album felt entirely spontaneous, 'Donkey' feels just the opposite: over-produced and deliberately aiming for a broader audience.
I enjoy this album but the stark originality of their earlier music is all but gone.
Different but excellent!
C McWilliams | Bozeman, MT | 07/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"LOVED this set by those zany Brazillian girls (and guy)! Very different than their first release, as the first reviewer explained better than I can, but I'm a big believer in letting artists explore different sounds with every new project (a la Beck or David Byrne). They do not disappoint. So tight, so inventive, yeah a little mainstream, but still rockin', good timin', beautiful CSS. Love 'em!"
Matured and Improved
Richard C. Mente | Detroit, MI USA | 01/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I really enjoyed CSS's self titled ablum, Donkey shows that the band has somewhat mellowed; which is certainly not a bad thing in this case. Instead of the hard hitting chords and references that not everyone may get (I'll admit, I had to look up a few things such as "Death From Above," aparently a Canadian band from the 80's). Donkey still has some hard hitting songs (I Fly), but they have included some great duets (Jager Yoga, Beautiful Song) that just flow very well. While the first album showed some angry youthful rebellion, Donkey seems more reflective and less agressive. with the transition from CSS to Donkey, I am looking forward to the next evolution of CSS music on the next album, but if it comes out with the same rythem and flow of Donkey, I will not complain."
man ray | blue america | 10/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"heard this in borders last nite (from a distance) and thought it was some new cd by the B52s. what a surprise! donkey?? what i heard was really punchy and fun and well produced. the cut down guitar lines, like those of Ricky Wilson, are outright slashing! all in all, a good time is to be had."