It’s a very different Tarkan who stares from the cover of his most recent album "Metamoroz" which was released at the end of 2007 and which I bought on my recent Turkish trip. Like most other Europop fans I became aware of Tarkan when "Simarik" took over the European charts at the end of the 90s - except in Britain of course where this ridiculous intolerance of music not in the English language meant that we had to wait until Holly Valance recorded it in English before it became a hit over here.
Tarkan is probably the world’s best-known Turkish pop star and it’s no surprise as he’s got it all - looks, vocal and songwriting talent and lots of star quality. But "Metamorfoz" is a very telling title for it’s a definite change of musical style. It’s not just a musical change but visually it’s a very different Tarkan too if the cover is anything to go by - shaven hair, bearded, dressed in a smart suit, shirt and tie. He looks more like an office manager than a hot pop star! Of course it’s all about the music, so on with my review...
"Vay Anam Vay" kicks the album off. This was, I believe, the first single released from the album and it didn’t really bode well for me as it’s more in a very contemporary electro-r’n’b style. Now I know that style is hugely popular, and I know musicians have to change their sound to keep it fresh, but if we’re honest, we like Tarkan doing the more traditional style of Turk-pop so I wasn’t too keen on this opening track. Happily the foot-tapping "Dilli Düdük" finds him in more familiar territory. This is probably my favourite track on the album.
"Arada Bir" is a nice blend of the old and the new. As for "Istanbul Ağliyor", well this is one of my favourite tracks. You know I’m not a ballad fan but this has a particularly wistful and longing feel to it, I don’t know what the lyrics are about but I’d imagine it was quite a sad song? Very atmospheric.
On to "Hop Hop" which starts off like an old Max Martin/Britney song, now you definitely wouldn’t expect that from Tarkan. This definitely works for me though.
You wouldn’t expect Tarkan to rock out either, so be prepared for a major surprise with "Dedikodu". Again this manages to mix the Turkish style with rock guitars. You may like this, you may hate it, that’s up to you. I like it!
"Bam Teli" is next, this is another wistful ballad with Tarkan in particularly good vocal form. He has a very distinctive voice and despite the change in musical style on this album, that doesn't change. "Gün Gibi" is yet another ballad. I would have preferred more uptempo songs, but having had this album on one day whilst doing some housework it also makes some nice background music too!
I mentioned Max Martin earlier - well, the opening notes of "Çat Kapi" brought to mind Lucy Street’s "Girl Next Door" (one of the great lost European pop hits of all time!) - and this has a little electro-vibe running through it which makes it very contemporary. It’s also very catchy too, although it’s in a definite Western pop style than the traditional Turkish pop you expect.
The album closes with "Pare Pare" which is another very nice, piano-driven ballad.
Verdict: "Metamorfoz" is not the album I expected from Tarkan, but having said that it’s not all bad. It’s Tarkan, but not as we know him: if you want him to try different styles of music then you will probably love this, but if you expect more of the high-energy Turk-pop which made him famous then you may feel a little disappointed.