What About Tomorrow | 6m28s | 90 BPM
– I find that Arly Lariviere tends to sing too much on his trademark compositions. Long-winded singing is acceptable if we’re on a night at the opera, but it’s tedious and ear fatiguing on these predictable and unnecessarily lengthy arrangements. I appreciate well-written lyrics [these aren't] more than anyone, but I don’t need a chapter’s worth. And no matter how in love The Maestro may be with his own voice, I prefer to hear another solo instrument doing something interesting to keep my attention from drifting. I don’t mean another siwèl kibòd either; those are tiresome too.
Techno Addictes | 5m15s | 106 BPM
– I like the subject treated in the text, but as always, it’s too wordy, and some phrases sound embarrassingly awkward. “Non non, yo pa ka ranplasé umen…” Cringeworthy! This is a decent track, but would have benefited greatly from one of the ex-vocalists on lead. And there’s no way I’d use a synth solo on it. If you’re decrying technology abuse, how better to drive home your message than to resist your own addiction/abuse? Is that Makarios on Rock guitar?
Confessions | 6m00s | 88 BPM
– I could just as well lift what I wrote for “What About Tomorrow” and paste it here. The only thing I’ll remember from this tune is…well, nothing really. There are a couple of brief guitar appearances that would have helped fight my indifference if they were combined into one long solo. The only things Arly seems willing to give in large amount are his vocals and keyboard parts; everything else is in dribs and drabs.
Konfye Ak Mefyans (La Confiance) | 5m56s | 96 BPM
– I know there are a few Haitian babes who live for Arly’s little lullabies. I also know to never question why women think, say, do, or like what they do. They just do, and that’s all I need to know. What I don’t know, though, is how could anyone with an Adam’s apple stomach this neutered brand of Konpa. Good grief, I hear more cojones coming from the Konpa O Feminin project.
La Vie A Deux | 5m49s | 90 BPM
– A French duet with Tanya St-Val that starts off as Pop, takes a detour into Zouk before reaching its final destination, Konpa Love. Throwing a female voice into the fray is a welcome addition [females are always welcome in my world.], especially one of this calibre. It’s unfortunate I’m not too impressed with her performance. Let’s just say it wouldn’t make me go check out her other work. Methinks Arly should have kept it as Pop; it might have been more inviting.
Motivation | 6m01s | 100 BPM
– I’ll save you precious time and spare you of boredom. Jump to 5m09s and listen to that guitar sound. Now tell me, why would he not make it more prominent throughout? That sound, alone, would have given the song character and an identity. What other section of this number even comes close to being as salient as that short guitar solo? None!
Nos Indifferences | 6m09s | 90 BPM
– By far, thus far, the best cut off this disc. Is there room for improvement? You bet! Take the guitar solo at 3m57s, keep it going all the way through and wrap things up at 4m40s. I see no reasons to extend the track with more vocals; I’d rather be left wanting more than yawning. Why must every arrangement follow the same structure? If Arly wants his work to reach the next level, he needs to hire a professional music producer, preferably one outside of this scene. He cannot continue wearing that hat which obviously doesn’t fit him very well. And if it doesn’t fit, you must…uuuh…never mind…that’s something else.
Trip Map Trip | 5m25s | 120 BPM
– Let me guess, this is Arly’s attempt at proving to his critics that he can sing Konpa piké devan? Okéee! Sorry, old chap, but you ain’tGot This.
L’âme Soeur | 5m47s | 84 BPM
– Soft Zouk/Konpa, with Philippe Pierre and Shedly Abraham as writing collabortors. It could pass for the sort of Easy Listening stuff you hear in an office elevator on a slow and dragging Friday afternoon. You can’t wait to get the hell out and head home. Not bad, but not what I’d deliberately dial up. What’s happening to Arly’s voice on “…sur la même trajectories”, beginning at 1m13s?
Busted | 5m13s | 85 BPM
– A bouillon of styles: Zouk/Kizomba, Reggaeton, Hip-Hop. The amusing lyrics and catchy hooks are what shine on this tune. It would earn bonus points if there were no rapping and the irksome “Hey”; Arly had done a good job avoiding such silliness up to this point. I’d apply a little EQ boost in the bass area; the snare could use a small reverb; the sound used for the motif which starts at 2m38s is too thin. Apart from that, “Busted” is very enjoyable. If I’m Arly, I release the stems in the wild and let DJs and wannabe producers go crazy creating different remixes. Actually, it’s something I’d like to see other bands start doing with their singles and promo tracks.
:: It’s Always Quite The Same…Rewind! Re-live it All Again And Again. ::
No sooner than “iGot This” went on sale, Internet Soldiers were taking to social media to bang their “Great Album” drum. That behaviour had become standard practice in 2013; any album released by the popular bands was instantly declared Great by their respective tribes. Today’s keyboard saturated music is what fans in The Industry have come to identify with great Konpa. As an observer, though, I will continue asking if this is all that’s left in this genre’s proverbial tank.
I don’t know what kind of mental gymnastics those fans had gone through to land on their Great Album conclusion. What I do know is that when you refer to yourself as “fanatique jusqu’à la mort” or “TeamPlenyen4Life”, it’s more than likely you’re not hearing or seeing things clearly. As an objective listener, I heard no great compositions, no great lyrics, no great vocals, no intricate orchestrations, no polished production, no mind-blowing horn arrangements, no spectacular guitar solos, and definitely no creativity on “iGot This”. Everything representing Konpa on this record is typical and average. What I heard was music targeted specifically to an Arly Lariviere audience. I heard nothing that would suggest impartial listeners will keep coming back for more once their initial curiosity has been satisfied.
Lest I’m labelled a complete Negative Nancy, I will say that there are areas of “iGot This” that I do like. Having one main lead vocalist gives it a more cohesive feel; plus it doesn’t have too many of the noisy distractions that come with Konpa vocals, especially Gazzman’s; also Arly kept the Konpa production gimmick free. And perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my part, but it seems that he’s shown some restraint on the keyboard. Those small things made a huge difference in my ability to listen to the record; it was a much easier task than on my previous two reviews [bands shall remain nameless]. Mind you, I still didn’t care for El Maestro’s singing, but I managed, somehow. Now, when all is said and done, no matter how loud and how often Nu-Look fans bang their Great Album drum, I will always hear a different beat: that of an Okay Album.
:: Musicians ::
Arly Lariviere: Maestro, Keyboard, Lead Vocal
Norman Johns: Bass
Gabriel Laporte: Guitar
Michel Remy: Guitar
Carnal Julmice: Drums
Irene Edmond: Percussion
Alix Nozile: Congas
Jorge Dobal: Trombone
:: Guest Artists ::
Shedly Abraham: Drums
Junior Zamora: Trumpet
Ismael Vergara: Saxophone
Albert Yves Abel: Bass
Adolphe Chancy: Bass
Sanders Solon: Guitar
Makarios Cesaire: Guitar
Mark Goncalves: Guitar
Harold St. Louis: Keyboard
Philippe Pierre: Keyboard