Calogero is a French singer who started out in the business in a group (Les Charts) along with his brother and friends. After the group split in the late 90's Calogero embarked on a solo career at the beginning of the millenium. This self-titled 2002 release is his second solo album. Thanks to multi-media sites like Youtube I discovered Calogero's music and inparticular this gem of an album which was a huge European hit and which spawned several hit singles.
You don't have to be a francophile to enjoy listening to French lyrics! I know only basic French but I find that Calogero's song-writing ideas are often kept quite simple and so the ideas are easy to translate. Where they aren't as easy to understand the song translations tend to assume a more abstract meaning which, in my opinion, only enhances the beauty of the music and feeds the imagination. For those who think they'd never be able to listen to music in a foreign language and enjoy it I urge you to think again!
Calogero's music on this album is a mix of credible pop-rock. There are some racier, sexier tracks like 'En Apesantuer' and 'Aussi Libre Que Moi' which burn with guitar fever and vocal desperation. Both songs proved popular across Europe with the catchy 'En Apesanteur' providing the biggest chart hit. The song sees its protagonist imagining an encounter in an elevator with a stunning woman. Whilst 'Aussi Libre Que Moi' which means 'As Free As Me' is a reflection on what it means to retain ones identity while dealing with the intensity of passion and love in a relationship. Calogero's vocals are particularly stunning on this track, with his sensitive voice bringing different and meaningful inflections onto the same lyrics.
There are lighter, more carefree tracks like 'Prouver L'amour' which resonates with a feel-good factor. 'Le Plus Beau Jour' has a summer-time, drivetime feel to it too. There is a wistful hidden track after this, the last track on the album.
Most of the rest of the album features slower, more serious and sometimes depressing songs. 'Je vis on tu m'as laisse' is a pretty and romantic but melancholy track which deals with the feelings of someone who is estranged from their love. The sense of not being able to let go at the end of a relationship, of holding on to this useless love and of being trapped by this sense of need and obsession makes the song feel quite sad. In the lyrics of the chorus the expressed sentiments of endless love are quite moving.
'Juste un peu de silence' is another touching track. On this Calogero duets with singer Yvette Hammond. She has a soft, feminine voice which is quite breathy and fragile and which suits the softness of the melody and piano accompaniment. The song has a tragic feel to it. 'A La Guele des noyes' has an overly dramatic sense to it and the melody reminds me a lot of Tommaso Albinoni's Adagio.
Other highlights on the album are 'Prendre Racine' which resonates with a mature feeling and which muses on the ideology and actual physical place one was born into. 'Tien An Men' has an epic feeling and with it's string arrangement and thoughtful, intelligent lyrics has the most serious and intellectual message.
Calogero continues to be a succesful and popular artist in Europe whilst he may be relatively unkown in the UK his music and voice deserve to have more exposure over here! You can find Calogero albums in the UK in the 'world music' section of your local record store or widely available online from European stores or at sites like Amazon where it is imported. Also available on Itunes.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 En Apesanteur
2 Aussi Libre Que Moi
3 Tien an Men
4 Prouver l'Amour
5 Prendre Racine
6 À la Gueule des Noyés
7 Dernière Chance
8 Juste un Peu de Silence
9 Je Vis Où Tu M'As Laissé
10 Partir Ou Rester
11 Plus Beau Jou