lundi 11 juillet 2011

Martin Solveig's SMASH may fall out short...

Tonight I am finally posting a review of Martin Solveig's fifth album SMASH. After his previous one C'est la vie and the strings of hits the french DJ released I was sure to like it from start to end. The results are more mixed up, I'm afraid.
First, the album only enlists 10 songs (and there's an instrumental and a track that lasts not more than 2'25...) and there has already been three singles released previously its release... But there are quite a number of fillers or dare I say songs I don't really think are that good... I mean, when an artist comes with such a tight tracklisting, I think every single track included can get a single release in my opinion. And truth is SMASH doesn't have that much more potential hits within ! I don't even understand how Martin can have taken so long to record such a poor collection of songs. Boys & Girls, its first single in duet with Dragonette, was released in October 2009 ! Shouldn't such a long recording session time produce much bigger hits ? I think he's taken more time thinking of and recording the BIG videos for the singles than thinking of the music variety of his album.
Maybe what deceived me too is that Martin has completely turned his back to his past house/africanized feel-good music to stick to his recent electro/cold pop/dance and I really miss his previous black vocalists who gave extra soul to his dance tracks.

The CD starts all good with his second single in a row that featured Dragonette on vocals, his worldwide smash hit Hello. I have nothiong to say bad about it : it has an addictive tune and sticky chorus with sultry vocals by canadian Martina Sorbara. This is the full version that is included not a 3' long radio edit but there is still no boring listening to this single that was released last autumn and whose video was recorded one year ago !
The brand new single follows and it is Kele (Okereke, previously of uk indie band Bloc Party) who gives extra soul to Ready 2 go. Once more, it is a full-on electro anthem, mixed with a bit of house and dubstep, the one who looks back the most into Martin Solveig's past sound. After Hello's tennis match based video, this one's has been shot in a football stadium. I wonder what's next ? Olympic pool with naked swimmers maybe ?
Martin Solveig doesn't need anyone else on track 3 as he has written, produced and sung the vocals alone for The night out and I really like it a lot. The rhythm is a little repetitive but the song is 80's inspired with bits of cold wave mixed to the electro sounds and the result is perfect. The little french DJ doesn't need any featuring to make it right after all and i really hope this one will be chosen as future single...
Dragonette comes back on next track, Can't stop, but this time there's no single potential to me as the song's got a raw in ya face verse & melody backed with rocky guitar riff and electro but the song seriously lacks a real chorus. Instead, the song is delayed a little with electro cut/paste bridge that sounds like Hello and the vocals are too auto-tuned with too much filter/effect robotizing her voice. I don't really like it or feel it catchy...
Then comes Racer 21 and I wonder why a CD track has been wasted with this minimalistic old-fashioned instrumental little looped melody that wouldn't have sounded out of place as soundtrack to a 80's Atari video games... There are no vocals at all and shall I say once more I don't like instrumentals ? I need some vocal line to memorize a song but I have no regret about this one, I don't need to get it sticking in my head for sure : I just need to skip it and get to the next track.
Sadly track 6, We came to smash (in a black tuxedo), that gives its title to the album and features new uk sensation electro/rap sensation Dev is a boring piece of shit that recyles Wooooh samples from another Solveig song inbetween unhearable come-and-go samplings of the chorus and boring verses. Dev's voice sounds close to Dragonette's and I fear her featuring here may be some kind of promo push for a further single.
Dragonette comes back on Big in Japan and it sounds sooooo like Hello, part 2 musically... ! Does an artist can be ripped off by himself ? There are the same electro sounds at bits but the rhythm is speeded up with acid loops and nice shouting backing vocals. This is a good album track that fits exactly in the footsteps of his previous singles but would be redundant if chosen as one !
Martin Solveig gets back on the mic for track 8, Get away from you, but it is his turn to have his voice robotized to the max, mixed with an irritating guitar that completely tear my ears until this ska inspired rock song gets to its end (at 2'24, it is deliverance time!). May he be forgiven for having recorded this horror momentum... but I won't forgive his record company to have let him included it on the CD !
Thankfully comes the time for his boy/girl duet with Dragonette Boys & Girls, which was his first new unreleased single that announced the direction he was heading to for his forthcoming album. The cold wave inspired electro dance/pop was clearly the way he had chosen but this one was catchy and addictive without being irritating. I still can listen to it till its end without being fed up with it and that is the sign that a good song should give. The song was repetitive but in a catchy way !
Finale to SMASH is Let's not play games, a surprising laidback drum'n'bass based midtempo track featuring the vocals of Sunday Girl, who may be Jade Williams as she is credited with Martin as co-writer. This last song is the only not upbeat song included but a rather very pleasant way to finish the album, all mellow and delicate with subtle arrangements. I like it a lot but would be surprised if this could become a single ! Plus, the tracks ends as if it is cut unfinished when I was hoping it to last 3 minutes more...

So all in all, there are only two more songs, apart from the three previous singles, that I really like, and two other tracks that I skip. I really should have listened to this album before buying it but others may find themselves in his new electro jam style I bet. It is just not for me... With 5/10 I usually wouldn't have reviewed an album I doesn't like that much but the singles are so good I needed to talk about it and some albums don't even have three good singles included after all, isn't it ?

1 commentaire:

  1. the album is not that bad : check it :