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CD REVIEW: Xavier Toscano - Feels So Good

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Xavier Toscano

CD: Feels So Good

Label: Independent Artist

Website: http://www.xaviertoscano.com/

Genre: Dance Pop

Sounds Like: The Wanted, One Direction, Olly Murs, JLS, Take That, McFly, Will Young, Westlife

Technical Grade: 9/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Castles in the Sky, The Remedy, Made it Look Easy, Never Wanna’ Leave

Weakness: Cover Art

 

CD REVIEW:  

 

Xavier Toscano believes that pop music is the soundtrack to our lives. It etches powerful memories in our minds. When you hear a song from your past, it immediately takes you back. Faded, sepia-toned memories rush in with a colorful pop. When you hear a great pop song on that road trip or at that school dance or that time just hanging with friends, you know it’s going to be a memory that lasts forever. That is why Xavier loves pop music so much. That is the power he hopes to infuse into his songs. Xavier’s music is influenced by Top 40 radio and video. It can best be described as enthusiastic, energetic, dance-urban pop. He also blends his love of disco, rap, rock, reggae, and R&B with his dancing ability to create a dynamic stage show. Xavier has performed across the United States and Europe, and continues to entertain locally. Wherever Xavier performs, he is always praised for having a “ton of energy.” Combine that with his strong stage presence, and you have well rounded entertainer who puts on electric and engaging show. Xavier has a strong acting resume as well. In addition to local theater and film projects, he has recorded national commercials for Nextel, NASCAR, Sony PlayStation, and more.

 

The CD kicks things off with “Intro” and finger snapping “Apologies Wasted” a melodic prelude of sorts that’s sets the stage rather well for this album with its methodical musical build, feel good groove, impressive rhythm and infectious chorus. Track 2 ”Castles In The Sky” shifts gears a bit with methodical musical Piano driven intro, with well-placed harmonies meshed against a grand slam chorus. Track 4 “Made it Look Easy” keep it real with infectious musical flow and impressive sonic accents. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many rap influences reminiscent of The Wanted, One Direction, Olly Murs, JLS, Take That, McFly, Will Young, Westlife. On some of his songs Toscano even reminds me a bit of Prince and Michael Jackson. Along the way you can’t help but notice a lot of impressive musical soundscapes and bass driven sampling layered in the music. The mixing is very effective and very marketable packed to the hilt with things like impressive sound effects, well placed keyboard and synthesizer accents, percussive elements, and top tiered sampling and electronic beats that make the point. The beats are thick as a brick providing solid low end punch and impressive high end clarity. All Engineering aspects check out. You will find everything from clever rhymes, addictive melodies, lyrics that are thought provoking and rap flows that are masterful. Now turning out attention to Toscano he is a marquee talent and should be treated as such. He's got a very good look and sound. He definitely brings the mojo and soul to the table. The thing I like the most about his vocal performances is how well he handles himself within each song - sort of like a musical chameleon. The songwriting is brilliant and provides a lot of musical variety and emotion. His vocal emotions really seal the deal for me as he makes a strong emotional connection with the listener. Toscano really handles all the pin drop moments well - this is a critical component often taken for granted. The musicianship/ sampling touches have everything you would expect from a Dance/Pop/Singer/Songwriter artist. Toscano has a good timbre, vibrato and falsetto that goes down smooth. From my personal favorite “Castles in the Sky” to funky “Nas-T-Nize to grooving “Never Wanna Leave” to hooky “Runaway” to psychedelic “The Remedy” (Feel Alright) to infectious “Unstoppable Fever” to hard hitting “Watch Out It’s On” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “You Made Me Feel Mighty Real” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

 

This paragraph is normally dedicated to weaknesses found. I don't have much to report. CD cover is extremely cheesy and amateurish looking. By not putting a picture of Toscano on the front is a big Marketing mis-step..  

 

Song for song, pound for pound "Feels So good" by Xavier Toscano is a rock solid musical release and proves this guy can bring the mojo. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD goes the full 12 rounds and never lets its guard down. It has everything from rich dance laden melodies, clever lyrics, funky grooves, impressive vocal performances and rock solid songs that are well crafted and hold your attention span perfectly. As a whole this CD possesses allot of variety and musical versatility. Bottom Line - it delivers the typical dance swagger you would expect from a top flight Dance-Pop release but what's more impressive is the strong production value, infectious grooves he brings to the table. I look forward to hearing more from him as his career takes of hopefully this Summer!

 

Cyrus Rhodes