Kleré Yo | 5m34s | 110 BPM
— The horns are nowhere near stellar enough to play the starring role in the intro. Get rid of the intro completely and jump right in with the [I]“Yo di’m fè”[/I] vocals. I don’t have too much of an issue with the Kréyòl lyrics, BUT I do question Gazzman’s English singing. Dude, get training to lose the accent, or give it a rest. I want to like the screaming guitar, BUT better panning should have been used to avoid conflict with the horns. [I]Puisque vant haïtien pap plen si yo pa jwenn bon kout siwèl,[/I] they got their mandatory portion at 3m20s. For an opener, this title track is unexpectedly respectable, BUT they should have wrapped it up by 4m20s or so; everything thereafter is rubbish. Here’s the [B][URL="http://bit.ly/2bvd5R9"]edited version[/URL][/B]; it's more radio friendly. You're welcome, fellas!
Heartbreak & Misery | 6m31s | 84 BPM
— I hear this is “adaptation” of [B]Labrinth[/B]‘s [B]Jealous[/B]. A quick visit to YouTube [every Millennial's go-to music collection] was necessary to familiarise myself with the original. Bleh! If there’s one commendable aspect in dISIP’s rendition, it’s the Kréyòl translation — though I also hear the Kréyòl equivalent of the phrase “All you found was heartbreak and misery” is still in the works. I'll keep y'all updated, [I]oké?[/I] Perhaps a more subdued/quieter vocal delivery would be better suited for a song such as this. With its slow electronic Zouk beat, it's not a bad effort, yet I still had to check out at around 3m35s; more tedious [I]siwèl[/I] is not what the doctor ordered.
San Manti | 5m57s | 98 BPM
— As evident here, Dener Ceide’s guitar chops are indisputable, but his singing voice [decent] won’t be the subject of many music discussions. And for someone who’s already being heralded as a Super Producer, I must say, this track does little to justify the distinction. Unless you consider the quirky not-quite-konpa rhythm during the first 1m15s [suggestive of Zenglen’s Rezilta], this is as generic sounding as anything I’ve heard from the recent crop of Haitian basement producers. Of course, no Konpa album would be complete without your “pèp la” “péyi a”, “soufri”, “ti moun yo”, “pouki” “fòk sa chanjé” lyrics. San Manti might be good enough for its intended audience, but it’ll likely secure a spot on everyone else’s pile of evanescent Konpa songs.
Fòt Papam | 5m53s | 88 BPM
— You know, when I want stories of incest and polygamy, I’ll watch documentaries about the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints. That’s what the dozen or so Discovery channels are for, yes? However, if Konpa lyricists must get all topical and tackle those issues in cringe-inducing péyizan style, I ask that the music be of an elevated calibre. You see, no matter how deep/important you fancy the words to be, they will not be life-changing for anyone, nor be the only factor in purchasing decisions. So again, the music must always be Top Priority. Lyrically or musically, Fòt Papam is ill-conceived and poorly executed in every sense. To put it politely, sé mizik moun mòn.
Pa Pozem Kesyon | 5m13s | 106 BPM
— Good news: this track will be banging when played loud; bad news: it will not reach such level of goodness for me because I don’t want neighbours come knocking and asking questions. More goods news: I dig the keys solo [shocker!] – just a couple of delightful repeating phrases, no pretentious vagaries. I do wish they had used a better sound [surprised?]. Final news: I don’t care for the “I don’t care / I don’t give a damn” hook. Why couldn’t it be done in Kréyòl? If I were in the business of predicting “hit potential” or “song that will do damage live”, I’d throw some weight behind Pa Pozem Kesyon.
It Doesn’t Matter | 5m34s | 88 BPM
— I recently heard [B]Jessye Belleval[/B]‘s [B]Je M’envole[/B] album and thought her voice was [I]aight[/I], but nothing special. Her performance on this duet with Gazzman is unlikely to make listeners seek her other work. And whatever freshness she may have brought to the table doesn’t matter anyway; the entire track is mercilessly eviscerated by yet more retarded ear-piercing [I]siwèl.[/I] [I will petition Apple for a [I]siwèl[/I] emoji.] Why in the world won’t Haitians banish these kitschy elements from their music?? There has to be something wrong with the water supply down there in Miami which only affects Haitians. Seriously, how can one group of musicians be so sonically challenged? Arrgh!!!
[I][I feel the onset of another Konpa rage episode. Time for a Talenti break…][/I]
Cette Fois-ci | 5m34s | 92 BPM
— I can’t be the only person who finds Gazzman’s constant “Hmm” or “Hm-um” extremely annoying, can I? This is slightly above average Konpa with [I]Larivieresque[/I] Kréyòl and English hooks — the sort of heartstring-tugging material that Gazzman fangirls can’t wait to sing their poor little heads off to at the next dark-room dISIP [I]bal[/I]. That is, if they’re not too busy getting reborn in his sweat. Oh, and any Haitian male caught singing along to [B]Cette Fois-ci[/B] or saying “Gazzy” ought to have his Man Card promptly revoked.
Defi | 5m54s | 115 BPM
— I see a certain [B]Billy Da Kid[/B] credited with the music; I’m betting this is some form of debt payment to Gazzman. [I]M’ba Billy Da Kid défi gadé moun nan zyé pou’l di [/I][B][I]Defi[/I][/B][I] sé yon bèl chanté.[/I] But then again, [I]haïtien tèlman gen zyé chèch;[/I] he probably will do it. Nevertheless, there’s no way [B]Defi[/B] should have made it on to this album, or be on any other album, for that matter. [I]Si’m Gazzman, Billy Da Kid dwé’m toujou.[/I]
Lanmou Pi Fò | 5m56s | 90 BPM
— A good amount of exxagerated lead vocals supported by great amount of discordant background vocals where female voices sound more like guys on helium. When it's not a problem of transgen…[never miiind], there's some guy taking way too much delight in fingering his keyboard. Complete turnoff! This is another illustration of Haitian musicians believing their lyrics and ample [I]siwèl[/I] are enough to stimulate listeners. Lanmou Pi Fò is a needlessly long, sloppy, and namby-pamby Zouk attempt; even the staunchest of disciples might turn their noses up at it.
J’ai Brûlé Les Etapes (Etap) | 5m46s | 90 BPM
— In terms of style, these are undoubtedly the best lyrics on this record. I’d love to listen to a version of this track where I don’t hear “Nou sé dISIP”, “Gazzman Couleur”, “Well”, “Etap”, “Bonjour”, his buddies’ names, or his annoying laugh. [A pair of dirty football socks might do the trick.] I’d want said version to have a much longer guitar solo; repeat this one if you have to. As usual, the [I]siwèl[/I] was a pinprick, but [I]m’séré dan’m[/I] and dealt with the pain to get through this promising number. In the end, we have ourselves a fantastic composition that I may not listen to again. Why, you ask? Listening to my Konpa shouldn’t feel like I’m treading an auditory minefield. Not liking a tune because of the music is quite normal, and I’m okay with that. But when I have to dismiss it due to knuckleheaded technical mistakes that should have been avoided or remedied, it’s infuriating and unforgivable.
Aparans | 5m54s | 90 BPM
— That analogue synth in the fifteen second intro gave the impression that [B]Aparans[/B] might develop into something worthwhile. Not the case! If this were my song, I’d find ways to make good use of that sound throughout the arrangement, especially for the solo at 2m00s. Come to think of it, I probably would have deep-sixed the track altogether; not every song started needs to be completed.
Limena | 5m50s | 115 BPM
— I don't expect to like every song after just one listen. What I do expect is to be able to further explore it down the road and hopefully warm up to it. This Limena succeeds only in robbing me of that option. Even if I wanted to give the music another go, I'm not willing to sit through these off-putting background vocals any more than I already have. My ears are far too precious to me to keep subjecting them to these outrageously shrill keyboard sounds. Only folks ensconced in the Dark Ages could still find those aspects of Konpa acceptable and enjoyable. In any event, if I'm ever in need of a Limena, I'll dial up Da[r]benz and System Band # xxx instead.
:: The Sun Always Shines on TV ::
-- In today’s Konpa, even when albums do contain some decent tunes, reviewing them is too frequently an unpleasant undertaking. They don’t offer much in terms of creativity/imagination, good/interesting sounds, good production, or professionalism. Instead, we’re bombarded with so many odious elements, it’s total sonic mayhem, a continuous assault on the ears. How often must we hear Gazzman watermark songs with [I]“Nou sé dISIP”[/I]? How many times do we need to hear him laughing? How many times should we hear him mention his own name? How many [I]“slogan”[/I] are too many? How much asinine [I]siwèl[/I] can an album handle? In serious musical milieux, such provincial antics are considered distasteful and distracting; they interfere with our ability to enjoy music; they appeal only to those with poor taste and low expectations. And here’s the kicker: These are pretty much the same complaints I wrote about for dISIP’s previous album.
If I were the one entrusted with the task of picking songs to include on Kleré Yo, only these would make the final cut: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12. But since I was left out of the loop, the remaining crappy four [4, 8, 9, 11] will have to be counted in the final score. At the end of the twelve tracks, you can’t help but conclude that Kleré Yo is musically average, at best. That’s the danger with overabundance, innit?. If you’re requiring listeners to sit through seventy minutes of music, you better make darn sure all your material is up to scratch. Now, if magnanimity got the better of me and forced me to grade solely on the merits of the eight better tracks, then the light would definitely shine brighter on Kleré Yo. Even then, it wouldn't offer the full experience I require of an album; even then, I wouldn’t see a future where I’d want to hear it again.
To Gazzyens™ ak Gazzyennes™, a recommendation is obviously moot. To neutrals, do yourselves a favour, spend the money on a pre-Aristide album instead. I can't imagine any self-respecting Konpaphile™ wanting to trade a Konpa record from that era for Kleré Yo.
:: Musicians ::
Gazzman Pier: Lead vocal
Jean Baptiste Louis: Drums, Background vocal
Mackenson Saint-Fleur: Guitars
Jean Archil Clairsainville: Percussion, Background vocal
Rene Gardere: Trombone, Background vocal
Michel Bernadin:] Congas, Background vocal