Monday, August 31, 2009

Love For David

I've been fighting with myself in terms of writing lately. I have so many ideas and things I want to expand on, but never the energy to sit down and actually write. You should know in advance this week will be hectic -- my cousin is getting married this upcoming weekend and I will be spending a lot of time at work to make up for leaving early to catch a train back to my hometown on Friday. But moving on...

David Guetta is an interesting subject to me. He dropped his latest effort, One Love, this past Tuesday. I've taken a leisurely listen after being intrigued by "When Love Takes Over" with the flawless Kelly Rowland and yes, even "Sexy Bitch", which despite Akon's best efforts, is still mind-numbingly catchy. The list of artists featured are like a treasure-trove of unexpectedness, including Rowland, Ne-Yo, Akon, Wynter Gordon, 1/2 of the Black Eyed Peas, Estelle, Kid Cudi and many others.

I first heard of David by accident -- about two years ago, during the summer of 2007. While working as a customer service agent at a local insurance company during my summer off from college, I would spent the usually monotonous eight hour work day listening to music, tuning in to various radio stations that would play music I wouldn't normally hear on my own local Clear Channel clone. One such station I became a fan of was WMPH Wilmington, a dance-based "indie-esque" and largely commercial-free station in Delaware. They were on my radar because they occasionally played Candy Coated Chaos' debut "Take Me Home Tonight", and being the rabid fangirl I was, I often listened in for that thrill of hearing a fan favorite on an actual radio station. But, in between spins of "TMHT", I was also formally introduced to many artists that I'm quite partial to now -- including Sophie Ellis Bextor, Amy Winehouse (yes, I was late to the party with her) and Mr. Guetta.

The song that introduced me to him was the epic "Love Is Gone", which featured Chris Willis. As far as I know, the song never charted on the US Hot 100, but did hit #1 on the Dance Charts, and ranked in the Top 10 in the UK. It's definitely a great dance ditty, and I can hear it's influence on another great work of Mr. Guetta's -- the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" -- as the backbeats are almost identical. One Love's third official single will be "Getting Over" which also features Willis, which sonically is very reminicent of "Gone" I suppose it could be a "Part 2" to it.

As much as I enjoy "Feeling," it's clear David saves his best work for himself, which is why I can't stop scratching my head as to why America just isn't getting it yet. "Sexy Bitch" flounders in the middle of the pack, and even worse, "When Love Takes Over" literally sits at the bottom of the heap. (Both songs have gone to #1 over in the UK, further confirming my desperate need to move to London, stat.)

This is even sadder considering that to my ears anyway, those cuts are the most U.S. pop radio friendly tracks on One Love. That is not to say whatsoever that the rest of the album is filler by any means. I'm growing fonder of "Choose", which features Kelly Rowland (the second of three tracks on the disc that feature her) and a very different-in-a-good-way Ne-Yo, despite the fact that the song is getting a somewhat mixed reaction from most critics. In fact, this album truly confirms to me that Kelly should really scrap the whole R&B goddess deal in favor of this dancey direction. It really suits her. The final song featuring her, "It's the Way You Love Me", is also a lot of fun, and like "When Love Takes Over", it very much stands out on it's own amongst a package of songs that all contain a similar beat-feel.

I'm also very partial to the album's title track, "One Love", which features a very bluesy Estelle. It's mixture of background noise is a particularly intriguing complement to Estelle's tone choices. Her vocals also suggest the song could have been a big epic, gospel-esque ballad, but yet, the pulsating backbeat and Caribbean-influenced drums turn it into something else entirely.

The two tracks that feature BEP's Will.I.Am do leave me kind of cold, mostly because of Will's lack of originality, as they sound like leftover cuts from The E.N.D. (and they very possibly could be). However, thanks to the almost obscene success of "Feeling" on the Hot 100, I'm not surprised that "I Wanna Go Crazy" is in preparation to be a potential fourth single. Whatever gets Guetta the attention he deserves, I suppose, but it's a bit sad that they choose such a weak song to do the trick for him. I also had high hopes for "Toyfriend" which features the criminally underrated Wynter Gordon, but the song's filthy lyrics leave me a little unenthused (despite my love for "Sexy Bitch" -- yes, I know).

I praise Guetta for sticking to a formula that works for him, and is very clearly him-centric. If you dig dance music -- you need this album. However, if you are looking for more radio-friendly jams, you may be a little dissapointed. It's the kind of record that will be a great soundtrack for a fun night out (or prepping for a great night out), for sure. I'm hoping America starts getting the memo soon...


Ken said...

I've only known David Guetta since his appearance to the spotlight with Kelly Rowland on "when love takes over". Since then, I became a fan.

This album is just plain awesome. Great Review. If only this album will be available here, I'd buy it with no hesitation. He's one of those artists whose CD is worth buying for right?

I don't know why America isn't getting the best artists right? Ya'll there are kind of late when it comes to brill music (although not most of the time). I mean i'm kind of tired hearing GaGa, Kanye and the peas squirming all over the charts for like what? a year?

Anyways, I'm in sympathy with you about writing. and best wishes to your cousin. :D

J.Mensah said...

Woops! I completely forgot about the Guetta album. I hear most people like it. I'll check it out soon enough. Nice review!

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