Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mike Posner graduated from Duke in May, and like many young people just out of college, he needs a job. 31 Minutes To Takeoff acts as a résumé of sorts, showcasing his songwriting, producing, and vocal skills. Think Justin Timberlake’s less-talented cousin, or Andy Samberg. But if he continues crafting catchy synth-pop songs like “Please Don’t Go” and the creeping summer hit “Cooler Than Me,” Posner should be able to find employment in this tough economy.

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Still, Takeoff is a bit muddled. “Do U Wanna?” sounds like Uncle Kracker. “Delta 1406” evokes ELO and features pretentious lyrics destined to sound deep after a diet of bong hits. Attempts at sexy soul fall a bit flat, but show that Posner works well with others: “Déjà Vu” makes nice use of Boyz II Men’s vocal harmonies, and The Smeezingtons contribute real live instruments on the insipid-yet-catchy “Bow Chika Wow Wow.” “Gone In September,” a collaboration with Travis Barker, is a pleasant surprise that would fit right in on a Blink-182 album, “whoah-oh” chorus and all. Nothing on Takeoff is earth-shatteringly original; even “Cooler Than Me” appeared on the pair of 2009 mix-tapes Posner recorded in his dorm room. But in a pop landscape that includes “lovesick crackhead” Ke$ha, Posner deserves some credit, especially when grading on a curve.

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