lundi 27 décembre 2010

The Wanted could become England's most wanted boyband very soon

Born of auditions in 2009, UK's latest boyband sensation is called The Wanted and sounds like a younger version of what Take That is nowadays, UK's most successfull boyband. I mean they don't sound like a manufactured dance/pop act made of cute boys like Take That originally were, but like a mainstream pop/rock group of five handsome boys who still know how to sing and play instruments too.

The Wanted's most appealing face must come (but it surely depends on different tastes) on sexy bad boy looking Max George, who previously was in another boyband, the short lived Avenue, that didn't make it on the X-Factor. His voice dominates all first two singles of the band and his image is omnipresent on every CD cover and in every video. By his experience and must-have crazy girls' huge following, I take him for The Wanted's leader even if all five boys take parts in lead vocals. Indie rocker-like Tom Parker, Curly haired James 'Jay' McGuiness, young child-looking Nathan Sykes and former model Siva Kaneswaran complete the band and it looks like there's everything for everyone between these five hunks, but musically too ; I mean, a couple play piano, one plays guitar, one plays (well, maybe more than one, me think).

Their first single, All time low, wasn't a classic, an instant kind of hit when I first got to hear it and I first thought to myself ; what all the fuss about 'em? That ain't a hit ! They better record some better songs if they want to release an album... Then I watched the video for it, which wasn't groundbreaking with the boys walking in a deserted and abandonned factory, but it did something to me and revealed what the song truly had in store : All time low was a GROWER ! I must admit that although it has been released since July, I still can't get enough of it, playing it on repeat in my car and singing along to the chorus I've learned the lyrics by heart now.

The fact is the rhythm really starts only after the first chorus whith the second verse but by the time it comes a second time round, you're totally hooked by it "But if you know how do you get up from an all time low, I'm in pieces, it seems like peace is ...the only thing I never know : how do you get up from an all time low ? I can't even find a place to start, how do I choose between my head and heart ? 'til it ceases I never know how do you get up from an all time low". Penned by #1 providers Steve Mac and Wayne Hector (Westlife between many more) with Ed Drewett, it makes sense it was aimed at the top of the charts and it got it but not only did it got to number one, its selling power kept growing bigger, unlike other boybands' singles, and it stayed in the UK Top 40 for 16 consecutive weeks. Remixed by Digital Dog, All time low gained some additional addictive upbeats that helped this electro influenced pop/rock power ballad cross over and appeal to different kind of buying people for sure. The CD single featured as a Bside their accoustic version of Cheryl Cole's #1 hit Fight for this love, after a bedroom recorded video of them singing it live made the buzz. In truth, this other side of The Wanted's sound showcased perfectly their vocals abilities and I guess both sides of the single were a must-have in brand new fans' hearts.

Two months later, the boys were awaited in the charts, with their second single, a plain romantic ballad called Heart vacancy produced by Cutfather & Jonas Jeberg who wrote it with Lucas Secon and Wayne Hector (again). They tried the same formula with another acoustic cover version (Kickstarts by Example) on Bside and dance remixes (by DJ Tonka and DJ's from Mars this time) but it only reached #2 in the UK charts, being outsold by Bruno Mars climbing back to #1 several weeks after Just the way you are original #1 placing. Although the song is nice enough, I must admit I didn't fell in love the same way with it. The "In your heart, in your heart, in your heart" pre-chorus parts sounds good and the chorus melodic line is powerful but without real lead lyrics line that sticks to the head, only the Oooh oooh parts. May I say Jay's irritating "When I-aï-I-aï-I talk to you-ooh-ooh on the pho-ow-ow-one..." solo vocal line in the bridge didn't do good to the song's appeal... Anyway, A number two second hit ain't a flop I guess and soon their self-titled album was out too.

The album starts with their two first singles in order of release and displays the latest and third one on track #3. Lose my mind takes another direction although it starts all calm and moody in the intro but the song, that has been post-produced by the remixers team The Wideboys, has an evident dance appeal and a very catchy upbeat chorus. This song does the same All time low did to me ; first I didn't think it was that good but after a couple more listens, it has grown on me and I can't get it out of my head singing along "If heartache was a physical pain, I could face it, I could face it ! But you're hurting me from inside of my head, I can't take it, I can't take it ! I'm gonna lo-oo-oo-se my mind... I'm gonna lo-oo-oo-se my mind". Sadly it looks like the UK charts won't grant the boys with another Top5 hit as Lose my mind only got to #29 after a three weeks yoyo in the charts. Their girls following must like ballads only or maybe the fairground based video didn't appeal to them, but in addition, the record company has evidently been lacking of imagination about this new release (an accoustic cover version of The Script's For the first time that I've yet to hear as Bside and a couple remixes by 7th Heaven and Cahill for dance addicts - although BOTH are pure bliss!!!).

Produced by Greg Kurstin and co-written with multi-awarded songwriter Cathy Dennis, Replace your heart on track 4 could easily become the boys' fourth single and get them back on top as it sounds like a beautiful anthemic ballad, or powerful mid-tempo with a strong chorus and memorable lyrics. Time will tell, and I can already hear nice dance remixes of it, but I can't see a song that good made by such a winning team beeing stuck to just an album filler track !

Hi & Low is next and it has all beautiful acoustic verses sung maybe by Nathan, only with piano, with the others joigning him on the chorus full of vocal harmonies and strings. This song is a pure instant of bliss, intemporal and fragile, like a butterfly gracing the palm of your hand for a brief moment before he flies away.

Next one must be the song I dislike the most on the album, not because this trip-hop kinda song is bad, but because of its sampling of The good the bad and the ugly of Enio Morricone. Let's get ugly loses itself in the mixture of different sounds, d'n'b beats, philarmonic arrangements and 70's spaghetti western sounds. Stripped to the bone and revamped by a total different musical background I'd surely like it a lot but Guy Chambers has all done it wrong on this one. He did better with Gainsbourg's sampling for Kylie's Sensitized but he'd better stop using samples as he's a songwriter/producer that doesn't need that !

As if it was time for album fillers or boys' cash-in material, #7 is the first to have a songwriting credit by the boys but a filler it ain't for sure ! Say it on the radio is an upbeat electro pop/rock song that wouldn't sound out of place on McFly's latest album. And its catchy chorus could easily make it a hit on the radio.

Ben's Brother's leader Jamie Hartman produced and co-wrote with The Wanted the next song, called Golden, and it is a nice peaceful and warm ballad that will melt their fans' heart in no time. Once more, it has a memorable chorus with words coming out of Max's mouth like honey, gold or oasis for wounded hearts... "And we try, and we fall, and we live another day, and we rise like a phoenix from the flames, and it burns but it turns out golden..."

Third song in a row co-written by the boys and still no filler at all, Weakness is an upbeat piano-led pop/rock that sounds like Coldplay. Jay's distinctive vocal on second verse fits it very well and I feel most of the songs here are too pop-orientated for his rock vibe, but he really shines on this one, owning back the bridge part too.

Personal soldier is apparently a fans' favourite and it is a new Guy Chambers song/production. Without disturbing sampling but with a military "left, left, left-right, left" intro and full march rhythm, it uses everyone's musical background and adds a strong chorus that goes "I'll be your hero who's standing strong , who protects you from any fight..." After their first three singles' broken hearted poor boys' tales, how could their girly fanbase could ever do without wanting to sing along to them singing these lyrics to their hearts ? Single potential once more, even if it'll be harder on this one for a remixer to work on...

Another song co-written by the boys at track #11 with Behind bars and its upbeat rythm and uplifting chorus melody. Written and produced by Chris Young with Ash Howes on the mixes, this song has an irresistible charm but I think the verses may be a little too poor compared to the perfect chorus for being single potential, and it sounds like it ends just before it had started at only 3'02 !

Guy Chambers is back on duties with the Taio Cruz co-written Made and... it sounds just like a new HIT to me, except the song would need to be re-named Made for each other if it got released to gain some catchiness. It has got electric guitars all through it to give a powerful rocky edge to this pop song that you can't help nodding your head to while singing along its chorus.

More acoustic guitars follow and it's quite already the time to end the album with A good day for love to die, the last song co-written by The Wanted. Cutfather & co are back on production and it is a powerful pop/rock anthem that would surely set the scene on fire on tour. I can easily imagine the five lads jump up in rhythm while repeating the lines "For love to die, for love to die..." I confess this one is a little bit too rock for me.

iTunes bonus material is called The way I feel and is another Guy Chambers symphonic pop/rock pop song, like those he did for Robbie Williams some years ago, but it is just a filler to me, but a nice encore.

For those who wants to watch them while listening, here are their three videos yet :

mercredi 15 décembre 2010

Girls Aloud's music battle : Nadine vs Cheryl

Girls Aloud may be UK's most famous successful band from the Popstars series, they didn't cross the channel to France except for a few people like me who buy their CD from the net rather than from what they hear on local radios now. And I have collected all their studio albums, not like a fan(-atic), but like pop music addict who liked what he heard.

Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Tweedy (then Cole after she got married)and Nadine Coyle started things nicely enough with Sound of the underground, which led them into Sugababes' musical footsteps rather Spice Girls'. Their music was sometimes a little bit too rocky for me but there was always enough pop/dance appeal for me to finally buy the album. The soon quasi monopolistic involvment of Brian Higgins' production team Xenomania was a promise there would be enough for me to like too. And the perfect songs and hit singles came one after the other. I will only name the best ones in my book : The show, Love machine, their covers of Grease and I'm every woman, Deadline & diets, Androgynous girls, Long hot summer, Models, Sexy! no no no, Call the shots, Can't speak french, Close to love, Turn to stone, Love is pain, and finally the fabulous The loving kind, co-written with the Pet Shop Boys, and their final single Untouchable.

I learned the girls put the band on hiatus to work on solo projects with sadness and a bitter taste of what was to come, like it has always been with every ex-members of boys/girls bands whow ere successful together but never reached the same pop stardom on their own (Gary Barlow, Spice Girls, Jo O'Meara, etc.). Some did succeed though, like Robbie Williams, but it was less pop, and some did incredible good music alone (Rachel Stevens) but didn't stand the test of time... I was fearing the same would happen for the Girls Aloud soloists.

Surprisingly, it wasn't the girls' most leading vocalist (who has always been named as Nadine Coyle) who started the fight, but the one who wasn't as vocally talented but who got the flashes & people medias all on her, cute sexy Cheryl Cole. Backed up by her TV exposition in X-Factor's TV show, she released her first album 3 Words at the end of 2009 after her first single Fight for this love shot straight at number one in the UK charts. Signed to Girls Aloud record company, Fascination, label of Polydor/Universal, she chose a more R&Bish side of pop than what she used to sing with the four other girls, working with Steve Kipner, Wayne Wilkins, Taio Cruz (her best track on the album, Stand up, that should have been a single !), Soulshock & Karlin, but mostly with the Black Eyed Peas' leader Will.I.Am, who produced 5 tracks out of 11 on her album (and laid vocals on 4 of them). Although the songs didn't appealed to me first, feeling her vocals were very poor and the production way too R&B for me, the commissioned remixes of either Cahill and Moto Blanco put the song on orbit around my heart, adding some extra disco/dance beats. Two other singles were released from this top selling album, the title track, a duet with Will.I.Am I admit had some charm, but all the more in its house transformation by Steve Angello, then Parachute, which was finally listenable after the Buzz Junkies remixed it for the clubs and my ears. In the end, her first offering wasn't really my cup of tea and I felt betrayed after all the hopes I had to see the five girls do solo stuff I would love as I loved their Girls Aloud music.

This year, while everybody thought her new recordings would fit an album re-release with bonus tracks in the UK and for the US market, Cheryl released a brand new single, Promise this, before a brand new album, Messy little raindrops. Previous main producers were kept on board (Wilkins, Kipner & Will.I.Am) while new recruits came too for several tracks. Promise this shot straight back at #1 and I felt the same as for her first single : the remixes were better than the original. I must admit Almighty Associates, Digital Dog and Nu Addiction remix teams can't do no wrong in my book these days so it was an easy job for them to better the irritating Alouette-wet-oh-wet-oh-wet sampling song. I hate it even more by murdering this french children song. I still feel the same about her new single The flood, which I only find boring in its original production form but that I can like to listen when remixed by The Wideboys (or The Alias). Thankfully, there is better pop moment on this second album and I feel Lady Gaga's success has been aimed at sometimes... (Yeah yeah or the superb final track Waiting).

In the meanwhile, there was talks that Nadine Coyle was preparing her own solo album and that she had signed to a major record company for mainstream global success. I feared already a MOR bland pop goal to appeal to the masses for mothers' day & christmas sales. In truth, all that was said about her solo stuff was wrong !

First, not only did she not get signed by a major, but she had to work on her own label to see her songs released. She did manage to get a distribution deal with the Tesco stores but that surely didn't help set the albums & singles charts on fire with her debuts, the Insatiable album and single.

It is a shame 'cos the album is very good, made of good pop like Girls Aloud's albums were made of, all co-written by Nadine, and produced by the cream of the cream of pop producers from all over the world, and Nadine's voice has never sounded so good, without the sharing leads of her four other girls, and no auto-tune effects like on Cheryl's records where it was used to mask her poor vocals as much as to maker her sound like the other trendy popstars of the moment.

In reality, Insatiable is the perfect new Girls Aloud album. Nadine's vocals are in the front. There are some backing vocals behind that could have been by her ex-collegues, and it is as if Xenomania was still inspiring and producing it ...except they are not ! So what we all took for the Xenomania style was in fact the Girls Aloud's core inspiration made of Nadine Coyle talent, I guess.

Her voice has always been so recognizable and powerful she was meant to go solo one day, even after she got dumped from irish popstars' group Six because she was too young and after she won her place in Girls Aloud. This solo work sounds so right for her. I only hope people will forget she doesn't appear on TV every week, she doesn't do magazine's front pages every day and doesn't sell her life and body to sell her music. I know Cheryl's cute but Nadine ain't ugly, isn't it. And she knows how to SING.

The album starts with a dark sounding electronic track, Runnin', that builds up into a strong catchy chorus as a first song of independance. Her next single Put your hands up is an uptempo hitsong you'd easily mistake with a Girls Aloud new track. I hope she'll get higher in the charts than her previous one (Insatiable got at #26 in November just after Cheryl shot at #1 with the crappy Promise this...). Chained follows in an american pop/R&B kind of song you'd bet has been written by Ne-Yo or Taio Cruz, except it is not. Nadine co-wrote it with new producers Gareth Owen & Ricci Riccardi ; Surely single #3 !
Insatiable only appears at 4th position on this CD and you can't help thinking they knew it hadn't the instant appeal a comeback hitsingle had. Else, they'd put it as an opening track for sure... The Wawa remix betters it slightly but it is a grower with an anthemic chorus that was co-written by Robbie Williams' past hitmaker Guy Chambers. When Red light starts, it feels like it was Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus part 2 : the overwhelming ambiance is dark, the beat is phat, binary and there's even the same dirty guitar. But when the chorus comes, it all sounds back into Girls Aloud pop/rock territory. It even has a Slash a-like guitar solo. Strangely, it is co-written/produced by the same duo who did Chained, in a whole different atmosphere ; they must be very talented and this one could have BIG single potential too.
My sexy love affair starts with a little piano and Nadine takes a smooth and breathy high-pitched voice a la Mariah to sing this sweet pop song and I must say it doesn't work at all ! Her voice sounds lame that way and Nadine loses everythign that made her recognizable and lovable... This one's the big mistake of the album : shame on Toby Gad who's behind this !
He's also responsible of You are the one, an acoustic guitar-led pop/folk song that is charming and uplifting, after a Lullaby that hides a powerful more uptempo chorus than its title would have made us think.
Guy Chambers is back again on two other songs, the beautiful and warm piano-led self-produced Natural, and Warm, whose production role was left to Ricci Riccardi, like for Insatiable. It is a nice mid-tempo that lacks a little something more to be more memorable.
Swedish duo Quiz & Larossi produce next track, Rumors, and the long calm intro only makes us anticipate the ascending chorus melody. This song may sound too monolithic but it gets into your brain and you can't help but love it in a Westlife kind of way if you know what I mean... This is one that definitely fits in the MOR X-Factor-ish winner's single type of power ballad.
Unbroken comes just before the end and it is a soulful sing-a-long midtempo Nadine wrote on her own and that is produced by electronic wizard William Orbit with an organic arrangement. Nadine's voice goes back in the falsetto notes but the result sounds better and more powerful than My sexy love affair. It is I'll make a man out of you yet that closes the album with a calm piano, full strings and brass arrangements. The song was co-written with Desmond Child but it wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Elton John's album rather than a Shania Twain's. It is a nice and joyful way of ending the CD, with nearly gospel backing vocals helping Nadine reach a Grand finale.

Surely not the perfect pop album, but not everybody wants to be another Kylie I guess..., but a better one than Cheryl's both first ones, definitely. Now it's up to you to choose your side - or wait till next Girls Aloud solo. There are still three of them.

lundi 13 décembre 2010

Did Mylène Farmer go Gaga?

It was only a little more than two years ago when Mylène Farmer, France's biggest female singing star, released her previous album Point de Suture. Her latest live album recorded while her N°5 Tour is only a year old too and the brand new album of the mysterious diva feels like a rushed surprise. Her fans had never been treated that way : we were just used to patiently wait half a decade at least between each new studio album release and we welcomed each new CD with passion and devotion. This new one looks like a turning point :

1/ It comes too fast after the previous one.
2/ There's no trace of her all-time collaborator/producer/composer Laurent Boutonnat.
3/ It is the first time I find me (and I'm ashamed to say that!) "a little bored" while listening to this whole album !

Maybe rushing things weren't that good in the end...

The news invaded the net a couple of months ago, announcing a brand new single, Oui mais... non, produced by Lady Gaga's producer RedOne, and a new album Bleu Noir to follow just in time for Christmas sales. Then the song appeared and I was in heaven.

Composed by the international trendy producer, Oui mais... non is an electronic 90's inspired frenetic dance anthem where Mylène's voice and french lyrics are put in the front, with her vocals building up a wall of haunting backing vocals between the syncopated synthés and pulsating rhythm. Even if it takes a couple listen to get used to, while you've got its rhythm, you're caught forever, totally spellbound by the positive energy and fresh magic "Dis-moi oui mais non, ne dis plus jamais non..." Needless to say it shot straight at #1 in the french charts.

The remix package sees Mylène keep working with Tomer G but place her voice between the expert hands of frenchy Jeremy Hills, Klaas and finally Chew Fu, another Lady Gaga previous remixer. I don't really know if Stefani Germanotta's worldwide success and beautiful videos inticed Mylène to work harder to keep her place in the charts and fans' hearts but the fact is that after working with Lady Gaga's producer, she produced a Bad romance inspired video for Oui mais... non too. Truth is Mylène was the first european artist who released video clips like films a la Thriller back in the 80's (Libertine, Pourvu qu'elles soient douces, Tristana, Désenchantée...) and she's equally famous for her music as for her videos and image ...which seems to be what Lady Gaga is famous for too nowadays. I don't know if she knew Mylène's previous work and took inspiration from it, but she did say she like her new single RedOne did for our french star so I see Oui mais... non video as a payback hommage to Lady gaga's work too. But I do feel a little sad that in this new video, although she looks fabulous, gorgeous and sexy in her leather leggings in the middle of half naked dancers, Mylène doesn't take part in the choregraphy and only lays there lazily. She used to hit the screen with her dance routines !! But she's nearly 50 year old isn't it? OOops! She must do her best to make us forget that fact and like Kylie or Madonna, she must undergo different surgery treatments to look so young and beautiful (at least less botoxed than Kylie and a whole lot better than Maddie - but since the grandma of pop tends to look now like Pete Burns, it wasn't too hard...-)

I think I've said it all about the opening track of Bleu Noir and I promise I won't be longer for the whole rest of the album as there isn't that much more better things to say sadly...

Track #2 is one of the multiple songs Moby wrote and produced for her. Moi je veux... is a moody midtempo whose beat is reminiscent of 90's Soul II Soul beats and Unfinished sympathy, with a haunting piano. On the lyrics, Mylène sings about love and melancholy, like always. It is your usual Mylène Farmer type of album track. Repetitive and catchy in the end, it could even become a single.

The title track follows and the song is a little more lightful, with an anthemic chorus and harder guitars ; another potential single coming from the demos Moby sent Mylène and that made her want to record new songs after she finished her latest tour. The only problem maybe is that the words Bleu noir only appear in a verse, not in the chorus where the leading theme could be "la bataille est belle..."

N'aie plus d'amertume, another song by Moby / Mylène Farmer, sees her go back to her roots, on a dark midtempo, no surprise. And that is what may have let me down all the more. From how her first single sounded and knowing she hadn't worked with laurent Boutonnat anymore on this CD, I must have waited for something different, but whatever the producer/composer, Mylène stills writes the words she's singing, she's still leading the way and producing it all in the direction she's only been leading from the start : her own musical route.

Next song, Toi l'amour, another Moby guitar-led song, but more uptempo, with an uplifting melody but vocals maybe too laid back to make it as instant as it could have been. It speeds up the pace too for the next track, the other RedOne song of the album, Lonely Lisa. 90's inspired Electronica's back in the place from the intro to the end. I bet RedOne only wanted to give Mylène hitsingles : I especially like the pre-chorus' melody and the killer chorus, naturally. Beware though, the song is still sung in french. Like for Oui mais... non, there's a bit of talking bridge where Mylène leaves her usual high-pitched and breathy vocals for her raw, sometimes guttural speaking voice. Singles #2 in my book but that would make the other producers of the album jealous for sure if it were... so single #3? #4 at least !

M'effondre sees Moby sit back behind the desks in studio for a more symphonic sound, on this odd song that soon turns in circles and becomes repetitive though addictive with Mylène singing like a mantra the words "Jusque là, tout va, jusque là, tout va bien..." not meaningless words as we find her usual moto : everthing's fine ...yet.

The three following songs are composed by Darius Keeler and produced with the other half of UK band Archive, Danny Griffiths. Lyrics, like always, are courtesy of Miss Farmer herself, even the first one's, Light me up, all in english. Maybe it is because of their calm trip-hop sound, maybe it's because their three sleepy songs are stuck one after the others, but the first time I listened to the album in my sofa, attentive to the new Mylène Farmer that was in my ears, I fell asleep before the end... ! Thinking about it, I don't think it's because of the first part of the album, but because of the second part, where the mood is dark, slow, all on the melancholic ballad side of Farmer's world, and my feet and heart simply miss the beats.

Next one, Leila, sounds like a monotonous chant for the suicided girl she took inspiration from. Some critics says it's touching. I only feel it's boring... The third Archive song, Diabolique mon ange, is a little more uplifting, even though the music is still too monotonous. Mylène's usual morbid themed lyrics save it and show off her fear of time passing by.

Closing track is the last Moby offering, first displayed in its original english form, then adapted with french lyrics in a shorter version. Inseparables (or Inséparables) is another calm melancholic ballad Moby must have written especially for Mylène. He duetted twice with her before (on her adaptation of his 2006 single Sleeping away (Crier la vie) and then on Looking for my name on her 2008 album) so he must know her a little bit now at last. But I feel both versions put so close after Archive's three tracks is more that I can bear ...awake. It is a shame 'cos maybe I would have felt different if these 5 tracks have been dispatched in between the other Moby songs and the RedOne fantastic ones. Well, I must admit, I would have prefered there had been more RedOne songs. A lot more ! And what is it with CDs nowadays that have 10/11 tracks only ? I still feel betrayed when buying one album like this and not liking 90% of it...

The man in charge (Henry Neu from the sleeves notes) must be fired straight away !
Don't you think ?
I think I would've done better, only with Paintbrush and Windows' usual fonts.

I won't end this review on this bitter note though.
Two more songs would have been perfect for inclusion on this CD. Mylène has just been featured on two new recordings and they are brilliant !

First one is her duet with Ben harper on INXS new album Original Sin that sees INXS back up different international singers for new interpretations of INXS hits.
Their take on Never tear us apart is fabulous. Not only do Mylène's french lyrics suit the song nicely but her voice melt perfectly with Ben Harper's and Never tear us apart has always been one of my INXS prefered songs...

The other one is another duet she wrote and sang with one of France's most beloved old artist, Line Renaud, whose involvement against AIDS has taken a major role in her life, more important than music or acting. She hadn't recorded a full album since several decades and France's Who's who of songwriters wanted to take part. Mylène got the final track and C'est pas l'heure is our usual Mylène uptempo track. I wish she could have included a solo version on her own album as a bonus... If only she would do this on a re-release (but she has never done that!) I swear I'd buy Bleu Noir once more just for that track.

jeudi 9 décembre 2010

Appelez-la Jen(ifer)

Il est loin le temps de la première Star Acacemy, mélange à la française de Pop Idol et de Big Brother, où la toute jeune niçoise Jenifer Bartoli était courronnée gagnante du phénomène Star Ac' sur TF1...

Trois albums studios plus tard (Jenifer en 2002 et 1 000 000 d'exemplaires, Le Passage en 2004, 600 000 ex., et Lunatique en 2007, 300 000 ex.), un bébé puis une séparation avec l'acteur/musicien/acteur Maxim Nucci (réalisateur du premier album Popstars des L5, premier rôle et compositeur du film musical avec Richard Anconina et Ginie Line, Alive, qui révéla Christophe Willem bien avant la Nouvelle Star, et devenu artiste reconnu et consacré sous le nom de Yodelice), la belle brune a aligné les tubes et changé souvent de style, commençant dans un univers très variété française pour son premier album avant de durcir le ton vers du pop/rock pour le second puis de s'adoucir avec du funk, ska, reggae sur le troisième.

Pour son quatrième opus, Jenifer a dû s'entourer d'une toute nouvelle équipe, puisqu'elle s'est séparée professionnellement en même temps qu'émotionnellement du père de son enfant, Maxim Nucci. Si Pierre Guimard et Pierrick Devin co-réalisent l'intégralité de cet Appelle Moi Jen en en composant certains titres, ils ont fait équipe avec quelques paroliers et compositeurs (Jérôme Attal, Pierre-Dominique Burgaud et Antoine Chance principalement) et donnent à ce nouvel album une belle cohérence. Notez que la chanteuse Rose a fourni les paroles d'un titre, de même que David Verland (de l'ancienne équipe) et que le premier single Je danse est l'oeuvre du trio Siméo / Chat / F.Lyonnet.
Si je n'étais pas un inconditionnel de Jenifer, tout en appréciant certains de ses titres les plus pop, ce nouvel album sonne pour moi comme un sans fautes ; d'inspiration funky / pop très années 80, cet Appelle Moi Jen enchaîne les titres rythmés, dansants, aux mélodies entêtantes et sucrées alliées à des paroles piquantes et imparables. Jenifer s'y attache à ajouter de la langueur à sa voix, faisant traîner ses fins de phrases à la manière d'une Jeanne Mas et je ne peux m'empêcher à chaque écoute de penser à comme une filiation reliant ces deux brunes. Moins en force, plus en caractère, la voix de Jenifer ici me rappelle celle de cette idole des eighties, option funky 70's revival. Bien que d'inspirations résolument rétro, cet album demeure très frais, très actuel et surtout très addictif !

1/ A peine
A moins de 3 minutes, le premier titre interpelle par ses arrangements ciselés, funky pop nappée de synthés lui donnant du relief et d'envoutants "Ooh ooh ooh". Sa mélodie reste bien en mémoire, ritournelle entêtante qui ne vous quitte plus, surtout sur son refrain et "sous l'apparence les apparats, qu'est-c'que t'en penses, qu'estc'que tu bois...? Faut voir dessous pour en être sûr"... Et dès ce titre, la voix de Jenifer me scotche comme une ressucitée de Jeanne Mas. Futur single, à n'en pas douter! 20/20

2/ Je danse
L'intro groovy de Je danse enchaîne sans nous faire cesser de battre la mesure des deux pieds. La rythmique ici se fait plus syncopée - Je craque complètement sur le Hands clap en fond musical -. La voix de Jenifer est quasi conversationnelle sur les couplets quand le refrain la revoit faire trainer ses fins de phrases à la Jeanne Mas et pour le pont, le texte se déroule en mode diarrhée limite rap en voix parlée. J'aime moins que le titre précédent mais c'est tout de même diablement efficace pour le single de son retour ! (NB : Son "J'ai moins peur à vrai dire des vampires que de ton souvenir" du refrain me semble surfer sur l'effet de mode Twilight/True Blood) 19/20

3/ La vérité
La vérité commence presque a capella, voix + rythmique, avant de monter en puissance couplet après couplet, jusqu'au pont explosif et salvateur, plus rock aussi, avec sa guitare, funky mais rock, bien en avant et surtout son ad libitum "Tu ne la changeras pas". Par sa mélodie, cette chanson paraît tourner en boucle, crin crin lancinant mais mélodieux comme rayant la surface pour faire apparaître sa vérité. 18/20

4/ L'amour fou
Le tempo se calme pour une intro ouvrant sur une ritournelle pop toute ouatée mais dopée par une rythmique imparable. Ce titre baigne dans une atmosphère onirique qui me rend fou amoureux de Jen ! 20/20

5/ Les autocollants
Le petit bijou de l'album se dévoile en plein milieu du CD, via cet uptempo pop ultra vitaminé au tempo dévastateur et frénétique et aux paroles géniales où tout du long des trops courtes 2'05 Jen arbore des hommes collants d'une métaphore filée sur les autocollants. Seul bémol donc, la durée de ce titre : il est si rapide qu'il file vers sa fin à 200 km/h et qu'il se termine à peine commencé. Replay OBLIGATOIRE ! 20/20

6/ Le dos tourné
On revient sur un format de chanson plus habituel couplets/refrain de 3' avec Le dos tourné, aux arrangements très chauds et funky tendance psyché. C'est la chanteuse Rose qui s'est collée au texte et ce pourrait être un single moins déroutant pour les radios, mais j'aime moins... 16/20

7/ L'envers du paradis
Retour aux atmosphères ouatées et au tempo bien décéléré sur ce titre magnifique. Là encore, il pourrait moins dérouter les radios, rappelant le meilleur de Jenifer façon ballade variété française, tout en se parant d'atours classieux et sobres : superbes arrangements, paroles enjôleuses. Jen me fait penser cette fois à Lio, époque Des fleurs pour un caméléon, période Daho donc, d'inspiration Chamfort, Doriand, etc. 20/20

8/ Pole dance
Intro façon backstage bar à hôtesses, avec talons qui claquent, porte qui se referme avant l'entrée en scène d'une Jenifer séduisante et aguicheuse, aussi bien par la musique disco/funk sexy, calme et groovy à la fois, la voix suave et chaude, et les paroles sur cette fille des nuits se dévoilant face au public masculin dansant autour de sa barre chromée. SINGLE ALERT ! J'imagine déjà les ravages du clip dans le coeur des téléspectateurs mâles de 7 à 77 ans... ! 20/20

9/ Pas que ça à faire
On retrouve sur ce nouveau titre rythmé une atmosphère plus rock proche de celle de La vérité. Girl power bien en avant au niveau des paroles, musique d'inspiration Rita Mitsouko si l'on veut mon avis, ce Pas que ça à faire remue bien encore nos popotins avant la fin annoncée prochaine, sauf que comme pour Les autocollants, le titre se termine en pied de nez presque à peine commencé : 2'35 ! 16/20

10/ Le risque
L'album, dans sa version normale 10 titres (c'est court et bon comme un vinyle des années 80 ça !), se termine par la chanson la plus lente et seule vraie ballade de l'album, quoiqu'on ne puisse pas vraiment parler de ballade pour qualifier cette plage de langueur qui s'étire et se déroule presque sans fin (3'47, rendez-vous compte !) jusqu'à s'éteindre comme une allumette dans une myriade d'étincelles sonores. 17/20

11/ C'est quand qu'on arrive (bonus version limitée)
La version digipack profite d'un titre bonus (et ça ne fait que onze titres malgré tout !) et c'est un retour au début du CD : pop eighties à fond, inspiration Jeanne Mas plus flagrante encore, Jenifer décomplexée qui s'amuse et chante à tue-tête avec sa brosse à cheveux devant le miroir de sa chambre d'ado cette pop légère et sucrée fun & funky : on s'y croirait ! 18/20

En conclusion, jenifer a déclaré avoir voulu retrouver du fun et du rythme pour pouvoir s'amuser sur scène avec son public dansant sur ses chansons : rien à dire, cet album atteint sa cible : on n'a qu'une envie lorsqu'il s'arrête, le ré-écouter une deuxième fois, ou l'écouter en boucle après tout, ça évite de devoir rappuyer sur Play à la fin, et comme elle arrive trop vite... (le CD fait 35 minutes chrono !) C'est bien là mon seul reproche : cet album est GENIAL mais trop court...

dimanche 5 décembre 2010

Human beat box

and here's another video where he shows he's got as much humour as vocal talent & human beat box capacities

Remember his name : MIKE TOMPKINS !
I think he should be casted as a new school boy in the US TV series GLEE...

Welcome / Bienvenue

Welcome / Bienvenue to my new blog
I've had enough of MySpace ever changing world and when their blog's width has been se reduced it became impossible to read and include videos in my posts, I have decided to try to migrate to Blogger.
I will recreate my previous MySpace blog's posts history and will post here from now on.
All comments are welcome !