Saturday, January 17, 2009

Album Review: "The Corner" - Christian Walz

Christian Walz, yet another one of that endless line of creative Swedish pop geniuses, likes to take his time over an album. Four years passed between his last one "Paint By Numbers" and this one, released at the end of 2008.
As with so much other music these days I only got into Christian’s music thanks to Poster Girl; after she mentioned "What’s Your Name" and "Loveshift" I checked them out and was immediately hooked.
I had previously heard of him though: lots of internet articles mentioned the vocal similarity between Salem Al Fakir and Christian Walz, and I can understand this, comparisons are inevitable as both have the same sweet, soft distinctive vocal style (although Christian was admittedly there first, but there's room for both!!).
The atmospheric title track "Corner" kicks off the album. I was a bit suspicious about the lyrics at first, however they are not all they seem, according to Christian’s official website.
"A Beat Like Me" lacks a distinctive chorus but there are still some memorable vocal hooks. First single "What’s Your Name" has the cheesiest chat-up lines imaginable and you can’t help but smile when you hear it - "Your legs must be’ve been running through my mind all night", for example. Poster Girl hit the nail on the head when she compared this to some 70s songs, and as a 70s child I can say that was so true!
"Fade Away" doesn’t really do it for me, but maybe cause I’m not really a ballad fan. "Why You Wanna Save Me" starts off like Eagle-Eye Cherry (now there’s an artist long overdue some appreciation on this blog, I’ve got three of his albums) and builds into quite a nice chorus.
"Atlantis", which I’d guess at being a future single release, reminds me of dare I say Nik Kershaw? "Hello" with its marching rhythm builds up in dramatic style and is one of the highlights of the album. "What A Waste" is a well-crafted adult pop song, again with a slight retro-vibe.
The finger-snapping "Money" really reminds me of another song (can’t think which one though) and it’s got a nice catchy chorus - "money money money" now did some other Swedish act not think of that one already?!
And so to track 10, the album’s highlight. "Loveshift" breathes new life into a tired old ‘where has the love gone’ theme and gives it a very original take. The strings are fabulous and it’s got a real 70s Philly Sound-vibe going on and the result is just one amazing song.
2 tracks to go, although inevitably they aren’t as good as "Loveshift". "Producer" is an atmospheric slowie which doesn’t go anywhere, but the closing track "Hold My Hand" is much nicer and provides a rather sweet ending to what is a very good album indeed.

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