Mikael Bolyos gets reviewed
Mikael Bolyos - A Family Affair (EMI MBM 3971032)
Mikael has (somewhat unfairly) come in for quite a bit of criticism from Roxette fans over the years, especially since he started collaborating musically with Marie, as some fans felt that he had moved Marie's music into a direction they didn't like.
The surprising thing is that many of the same fans who criticised Micke's influence on albums such as “The Change” have been very positive about his latest project “A Family Affair”. I actually have really liked the work that Marie has done with her husband, and he was indeed responsible for my favourite song from “The Change”….”Mother”.
Personally, although this album is not going to make as one of my all time favourites of Roxette related material, I like the album a lot. It is a very eclectic mix of styles and sounds incorporating old sixties pop, jazz, eighties pop, and even more modern sounds. I think that this diversity is both the key to the record's success, and its downfall. At times I think it doesn't work very well because it jumps between too many different sounds and lacks cohesion, but then I also think that this is one of the attractions of the album: because it is a very personal collection, almost a story of Micke himself and his family, hence the title “A Family Affair”. Indeed, I can almost imagine Micke, Marie and their friends jamming away in their basement to the songs, as we saw in the Marie's “A Second Chance” documentary a few years ago.
Here are my thoughts on the individual tracks .
Merry Go Round:
A mid-tempo, very Beatles-esque kind of track. A very catchy little number, and one of my favourites. My only slight criticism would be Micke's voice. It's obvious he is not a natural singer. He sings in tune, but it is quite monotone and lacks emotion. However, it doesn't really detract anything from this song, as it is the kind of number that just plods along nicely anyway.
A slower, bluesier number. Another song with a great hook. Marie is on backing vocals sounding great as usual!
Me & My Guitar:
“Yeah-eah-eah-yeah-yeah”….the song starts with Marie in her best rocky voice that we've come to know and love! This is a faster track, and I don't really think Micke's voice is strong enough to pull it off, but still a nice track.
When the Lord is About to Come:
One of my favourites on the album. A very different sound, with interesting lyrics. A duet with Mats Ronander, though I can't work out who is singing what!
The Corner of Your Eye:
The first track with Marie on lead vocals, and it seems to be the fan favourite of Marie's tracks on the album. While it still has the “Micke sound”, it is by far the poppiest of the tracks so far on the album. It's got a catchy chorus, and I could almost imagine it on a Roxette album. It does sound a little dated though, made worse by the sax solo, which kind of spoils it for me actually.
This was probably my least favourite track on my first listen of the album. I am still not too keen, but it is growing on me. The main problem here is probably the tracklisting though. It felt like the album was progressing into a different sound, and with this one it sounds like we've jumped back to track 1!
Tell It to My Heart:
The second track with Marie on vocals….and it's another poppy track. I really like the arrangement of this song. In some parts it sounds a bit retro, but there are also modern sounds such as the vocoder vocals in the chorus which sound like they were lifted from a Madonna album. The beat is kind of strange as well. At first you aren't sure if Marie is singing in line with the beat, but that is just how the song is arranged and it actually really works. I get the feeling this is the kind of song that you are either going to love or hate. Fortunately, I love it! And contrary to the popular opinion so far on The Daily Roxette, this is my favourite of the Marie tracks on the album!
You're On My Mind:
This one has Mats on lead vocals. The song itself is nothing special, although it does have a nice hook and Mats probably does actually have a better voice than Mikael. It just sounds a bit uninspired though. I can imagine a £50 a night singer performing this in a wine bar.
What Am I Supposed to Do:
The intro to this one sounds like Tina Arena's “Chains”. I quite like the tune to this one, and it has a nice arrangement.
Na na na na na na….not much to say about this one. It's nice, but not really a song in itself.
For Marie fans, probably the most anticipated song of her career, mainly because she had previously said she did not intend to release it. I'm glad she changed her mind! It's a really beautiful melody, carrying on in the Roxette tradition of closing the album with a beautiful ballad sung by Marie!
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July 5th, 2007
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This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:
Archive, TDR:Editorial, TDR:Marie Fredriksson, TDR:Misc, TDR:Releases, vintage.