Sunday, October 14, 2012

#85: Jacques Brel - Olympia 64 (1964)

It seems to be quite a chore to write this album review. 'Amsterdam' wasn't an awful song to start off the album, however, every track following felt way too similar. One of them was a lullaby sung in a different language. Not that the different dialect bothers me, but the music doesn't change enough (to keep me interested) to make up for the lack of context.

As soon as I made it to the fourth track I checked out. There are very, very few positive things I can say about this. I will say that he has very good diction. Maybe it'd be different if it weren't a live album. The music behind the vocalist could have been stronger and the mix definitely would be better.

Brel has his voice in the forefront 100% of the time and nothing comes anywhere near a counter melody. Those instruments that attempt to be a counter melody are incredibly soft, incredibly simple, and give you nothing to latch on to. Judging by the clapping and the sound of the audience there's a ton of people. I'm not quite sure what I'm missing out on. I'd like to hear another album of his (preferably not live) but this isn't an album I can get behind.

All in all, I did not enjoy this album at all. I hate to say it because I'm sure there's an audience that truly enjoys this music, but I found nothing to take away from this record. That's a rarity for me but I just really wanted to stop listening to it. From what I've read he inhabits the song, he acts out the stories and throws himself around the stage. I'm sure this would be fascinating to watch, but since the music is very clearly anchored by the stories (and the fact that I don't speak French) this album falls very flat for me.

Tomorrow's album: Mayer Hawthorne's How Do You Do?

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