Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Julian Lennon - Valotte

Valotte (1984) **1/2

The brilliant title track is a haunting, stately piano power-ballad that not only evokes his father's late-period style but almost nearly lives up to the high standard that was Julian's bane of birthright.  The rest of the album is bog-ordinary '80s pop, some of it not bad (the breezily lightweight, too faux to even call faux-reggae hit single, "Too Late For Goodbyes," which actually sounds much closer to Stevie Wonder than anything else), but nothing worth my investing more than a couple of listens or analytical scrutiny.  What's notable about this album is how eerily Julian evokes John, almost as if he were a complete clone and not merely recipient of half of a Beatles' DNA.  The lad can't help it; his voice is his voice, exactly like his father's, and I'm sure that he cried under his old man's shadow all the way to the bank (inexplicably, or perhaps explicably given the charitable feelings and subconscious desire for John to rise from the dead in this Holy Ghost incarnation of Julian a mere four years after his death, this album became a massive bestseller and Julian won best new artist awards at the Grammys).  It's somewhat interesting to speculate on all the great music the world was robbed of by John's premature death, and this album sort of answers that question:  this sounds exactly like the sort of record that John would have likely recorded if he'd lived to see 1984 and dated synths & canned drums & '80s glossy production values.  Let's face it, John was already moving in a boringly conventional, MOR mainstream pop sound by Double Fantasy.  Those wishing that John had lived to produce more music in the 1980s, be careful what you wish for.

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