Good Music / Bad Music

Anaïs – The Love Album

by on Aug.28, 2009, under Good Music

One of the greatest virtues of much music from France is the quality of the production.  Crisp.  Defined.  Poignant.  And for this reason, I was very eager to lend my ear to The Love Album by Anaïs.  Not only was it French, but it was produced by one of my all time favorite producers, Dan the Automator.

Anyone that knows Mr. The Automator must be aware of his  contributions to music.  He’s the beat force behind such pure classics as Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030 and the first Gorillaz album.  He also tackled a disc for pseudo-jam-band, Galactic, and was the man behind the ever-so-sexy Lovage album (which I, personally, would love to see a sequel to).

With all this warm sentiment for Dan’s eccentric, round b-boy tones, I was at first a bit startled by what I heard on The Love Album.  It was clean, and definitively Automator, but…was this…was this pop?  Well, yeah.  Kind of. Anaïs is something of a pop songstress.  Once I let this settle in, dissolving my selfish expectations, the whole thing felt right.

See, it’s not pop in the sense most Americans like me are used to.  It’s not Britney Spears or, heaven forbid, Lady Gaga.  It’s not the 21st century, American bubblegum that makes your soul evaporate.  It’s pop with feeling.  Maybe French pop, but smacked with an array of nods to other lands and other times.

Sometimes it touches on J-pop (“Malheureux”), and sometimes feels almost Celtic (“J’Sais Pas”).  Sometimes it’s reminiscent of indie pop like Ellen Foley (“Moi Qui Croyais”) or Pizzicato 5 (“Entre Deux Verres”).  Quite often, it seemed to possess the rare ability to spark nostalgia in me, even on the first listen.  You know, like, “Is this a cover?  I know I’ve heard this before.”  Throw in a strange, laid back duet with Chris Isaak (“Si J’avais Su Que Notre Amour”) and it ends up to be a pretty damn enjoyable album.

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