Sunday, January 27, 2008

You're toying with all my feelings

So, who was yesterday's mystery song by?

Jacques Terre'blanche or, as his artist name would have it, Jacques (or, as he was sometimes known as in the past, Jacq)!

I've written about the South African Idol contestant before, contemplating getting his jazz album, even though it was jazz, based on--well, let's be honest, pretty much based just on what he looked like.

His most memorable moment on Idol was performing shirtless, apparently.

I was then shocked to find out this fall that he was about to launch a comeback. I mean, not that starring in a musical version of Debbie Does Dallas with Caprice doesn't set you up for a massive chart comeback, but talk about out of nowhere--it had been years since he'd done anything in the commercial music world. Knowing nothing more than he'd used a song by Akon, I pretty much expected the whole project to not be good for much more than publicity pictures--speaking of which, none of them do him any justice, and I do have to admit it would be nice to have more of them where he's actually got a shirt on.

Times don't change, do they? And don't get me wrong, I'm all for some general prettiness, but there is such a thing as taking exposure too far.

Anyway, I didn't really expect the comeback to have good songs to go along with it--I figured it'd be some tossed-off R&B songs and mainly coasting on his looks, and Jacques would continue on as my inappropriate crush, not as a music artist I'd seriously recommend. Oh, was I wrong.

Jacques may be talking about this as an R&B album and sure, from the previews, it sounds like it's got its R&B moments, but half of it sounds more like dance or electro than anything else--which is a good thing. And, R&B or dance, a lot of songs actually sound GREAT! It's very commercial-sounding. "Set Me Free" (keep in mind this is all based on previews) sounds like it could be on Phixx's album and yes, coming from me, that's a good thing. "Love's Like A Breeze" (which has to be sampling something, and something really famous--I just can't place it at the moment) and "Turn Back Time" and maybe "A Kinda Weight" all sound like genuinely good electronica-influenced tracks. On the more R&B-pop tip, "Freeloader (Give It All Back)," "She's A Player," and "Heist" could both be good catchy tracks as well. "Here's To You" might even be a pretty decent ballad! In fairness, not every track sounds great, but it sounds like a lot of them are.

Let's get to some semi-bad news, though: much as I love South Africa, most pop artists there (especially if they sing in Afrikaans) almost always include a bunch of covers/recycled songs on their albums. Even NKD, who I think released a fantastic girl group pop album back in 2006, did this, though most of the songs they chose weren't super famous. Jacques's album isn't without those either--at the very least, "I'm Your Baby" is a version of Danish singer Ida Corr's "I'm Your Lady," and I imagine there are probably more I just don't know about yet. Oh, well, I guess there's that "with Akon" track, but if I'm remembering correctly from when I was investigating all this back in September or so, that song was an already released song and Jacques was just added onto it for his album. One article does say Jacques wrote most of the tracks, though, which is a good sign for original material--though improving on older songs is welcome too, if that's the case.

Anyway, I've ordered the album, so hopefully I'll have more thoughts on it in a few weeks. For now, though, here's what clued me into this very pleasant surprise: the album's lead single, "I Won't Forget," released late this past fall. Here's the music video, accompanied by the music for the original version.

It's 2003 all over again! Or maybe the '80's or earlier ('70's?)? Because as much as much as Jacques spends the video looking like he'd fit right in in a boy band, there's something about the song that reminds me of the '80's--not in that '80's electro-pop way that's all the rage right now, which, much as I love that style, is refreshing. The song is just upbeat horn-punctuated pop, very...buoyant. Given the use of the sample, I kind of wonder if this is a case like Danny K's "This Is My Time," where a song by female singer Pebbles is just reused by someone else (Terri Walker's "This Is My Time" essentially taken and sung over by Danny K with some of Terri's vocals kept in place...Dutch Idols contestant Boris had done a cover earlier, but he didn't keep in Terri's vocals, hence he's not my point of comparison here), but whatever, the song is great.

Anyway, I love that version, but "I Won't Forget" is taken to whole new levels of amazingness by the 2-4 Grooves remix of it. It's swooshy upbeat dance-pop fabulousness, exactly the sort I love. Disco! Plus, I love how the middle 8 sounds even more in this version--very '80's pop.

Jacques feat. Pebbles - I Won't Forget (2-4 Grooves Radio Edit)

You can buy Jacques's album, The Colour Red, here, but it just has the club edit of this remix, not the radio edit. Suffice to say I'm pretty excited about hearing the album. Update (months later!): the whole album can be purchased digitally here and the single which has this remix on it can be purchased digitally here.

Next up: either someone else from South Africa's version of Idols or a song I've written about before from the U.S.


AcerBen said...

It's a nice enough choon! Not a major hit in waiting, but who cares?

Digital Technique said...

Another great artist you've introduced me too PPG! Love both the original version and the remix - might be another album to add to the list that I want to buy! :)

Poster Girl said...

Yeah, I quite like it!

Thanks, DT! :D I'm glad you like it! And oh yeah, do I know about those lists--I've got one, too, that I can never seem to catch up on ;)

Marienr Duck Guy said...

Hubba Hubba. His standards full of standards really didn't wow me, but I did enjoy his version of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime". Had I known he was going to look like the picture you posted... Heck yeah! Here's my wallet, take as much as you need!!!
Thanks for the song.

Poster Girl said...

Ha ha--I don't think I would have been too impressed with the songs either! Not really my style. And yet still I considered it. No problem!

claudette said...

where is SET ME FREE??????