Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Classical
Recorded for filmmaker Spike Lee's label, this 74-minute album is an attempt to win Western audiences over to Youssou N'Dour's particular mbalax style. Thanks to coproducer Jean-Philippe Rykiel, the bass is heavy, the soun... more »
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Recorded for filmmaker Spike Lee's label, this 74-minute album is an attempt to win Western audiences over to Youssou N'Dour's particular mbalax style. Thanks to coproducer Jean-Philippe Rykiel, the bass is heavy, the sound wonderfully clear, and the arrangements fully developed. But in some ways those points also become the record's disadvantages--there's a lack of spontaneity to the proceedings. So while the opener, "New Africa," works beautifully with N'Dour's Super Etoile band hot behind him, the tracks that follow are bereft of spark with the life wrung out of them. Not that there aren't some glorious moments on here, like "Yo Le Le (Fulani Groove)," and "Things Unspoken," where N'Dour lets his voice wail as if he truly means it, but for the most part this isn't N'Dour at his most inspired. --Chris Nickson
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Eyes Open - A Classic
Brendon Venner | Sydney, NSW Australia | 07/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a musician of long standing and with fairly wide ranging tastes, I have heard a lot of music in my time. Eyes Open ranks as one of the four or so all time classic albums that have had a profound effect on my way of thinking about music.Youssou N'Dour is a musician of intelligence that he is able to express his thoughts succinctly and simply. He has one of those voices which, once you hear it, can belong to no-one else.N'Dour and band are accomplished musicians. The rhythm section are tight and, as can be expected, make up a very large part of the band's sound. This is a band that can do Afro-funk at its best. Country Boy is a prime example. The rhythm track is to die for while delivering a poignant message about leaving home in more ways than one.The other great groove track on this collection is Yo Le Le (Fulani Groove)which doesn't pretend to be about anything other than a vehicle for smouldering bass and percussion with a haunting vocal line providing the counterpoint.The rest of the album covers many styles from soft ballads to dance numbers to politics and contemporary African society. The numbers are sung in English, French and various African dialects. As with all the best recordings (in my opinion anyway) the lyrics are included translated into English."
TimInBC | Victoria, BC, Canada | 06/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen Youssou n'Dour live, and I have several of his albums. I am sometimes frustrated that he doesn't let his gorgeous voice soar often enough, and he doesn't let that ultra-tight Super Etoile (super star) Band off the leash enough.On this album, "Hope" gives a taste of that voice, and then "Africa Remembers" give me what I've been looking for - a nice slow development, and those heartbreaking vocals alternating with a floating and laid-back sax and keyboards. Someday I hope to hear a 30-minute concert version of this song.I'm not wild about the rest of the album - it's only very good - but those two cuts are enough for a five-star rating in my book."
Still My Favorite
applewood | everywhere and nowhere | 01/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to Youssou was via Peter Gabriel. I was intrigued but not well educated...Years later I read a 5 star review of this CD and got it. It was an instant favorite and still is. I like his earlier music more (IMMIGRES), for its raw joyous jamming, but this is more accessible for general listening; offering a nice balance of superb African vocals and instrumentation with Western (French) pop sensiblity/production (coproducer Rykiel adds a distinctive flavor with his keyboards and arrangements, but it is more like a bit of mellowing western spice to an exotic dish with the dominant ingredient still being Youssou and his Senegalese band!). I like EYES OPEN more than any of his similarly produced recordings (SET, GUIDE, JOKO). I disagree with the Amazon review on this; I think these songs are full of heartfelt emotion expressed in Youssou's vocals, the band's tight and layered playing and the lyrics which beautifully convey the real concerns of modern Africa (multi-lingual and fortunately printed in original and translation).I am deeply moved by many of the songs, and feel they include many of Youssou's best (Live Television, No More, Country Boy, Things Unspoken). Consistently the band and vocals are great and the production, while slick, doesn't obscure it's African roots. I love Youssou's soaring, emotive (wide open!) voice on anything he sings, but his more recent recordings have been disappointing in their shift further into western pop. What suffers most are the complex rhythms, the layered drumming and fluid dexterous guitar work, that make his band the "super stars", and reveal Youssou as the consummate band leader. For me this CD marks the turning point where he had the two forces, roots and pop, in balance."