Friday, 27 November 2009

Classic Album Review: Modjo

Told you i was gonna post something a bit more serious.

We usually do album reviews here, but that is generally for brand new albums.
So whilst we are in this "drought" (hopefully Christmas and the New Year will bring something new), i decided to review one of my favourite albums of all time.

Modjo's only album: Modjo.

In case you dont know, Modjo was a duo made up by Romain Tranchart (ex Funk Legacy and now A Thousand Names) and Yann Destal (currently a part of Priors).

If you weren't living under a rock in the year 2000, you obviously have heard of Lady (Hear Me Tonight). This track, along with Stardust's Music Sounds Better With You and Superfunk's Lucky Star, took French House to its highest peak, a peak that, despite the current revival movement, has never been even close to what it was in the late 90's/early 2000's.

Not gonna rate the tracks, because im too biased.

The album starts off with Acknowledgement. This is one of the best intros ever. The bassy synth, the bass line, the beat, the choir in the background, they all create a very chilled begginner and something which sets our minds for whats to come.

Next we have their second most known single, Chillin'. It was in the middle of the UK charts in 2000, and also had success in Germany and Australia.
Again, the bass plays an important role here, and couple that with the vocals and the Chic sample, make it a nice Summer track, but perhaps not as summery as the next one...

Lady. Number 1 for 2 weeks in UK and Ireland, number 2 in Germany, number 8 in New Zealand, this track was a massive, massive hit.
With some very catchy vocals, sample and bass, there isnt even a big need to add instruments to the mix. And they agree. So thats why this track is brilliant. Because its simple. Like all big hits.
But there is a moral for this track: (and for Chillin' aswell)
If you want to be the nº1 worldwide, sample Chic.

After Lady, comes Too Good To Be True, a simple interlude, full of people talking and a little flirting in the foreground, which eventually fades away to a simple beat in the last 30 seconds. Not much to talk about here.

Peace of Mind now. My least favourite. And according to, the least favourite of the general audience.
Why? Probably because it sounds too much like a spanish love ballad, except its sung in English.
It just doesn't fit their style and, even though i dont hate it, this is the track i skip.

Next we have What I Mean, another single. This just squeezed into the charts, probably its not as dance-oriented as the the other two.
Still, it manages to be a nice track, well made and with brilliant vocals, to go along with the background strings.

Next, Music Takes You Back. I have to ask one question though. Why, why in gods name wasnt this a single? At least a B-side. But noooo... 5 singles and they couldnt manage to fit this one in.
Why the rant? Simple. Because this track is absolutely brilliant. The beat, that filtered sound which i cant identify, the bassline. And after the stuttering... Oh god. That synth sound that leads Acknowledgement comes in and it is earsex. And to make it even better, a simple lyric: "Music Takes You Back Where You Belong".
People call this Music Sounds Better With You Mk.2. And they are right.

Next up, another single, No More Tears. This also sounds like a spanish love ballad in the beggining, but that goes away. A good string arrangement, along with a cool bassline and even a little nostalgic guitar halfway, go nicely with the vocals.

Now, Roller Coaster, another instrumental. This is quite a funky track, with a simple beat, again that sound i cant make out, a cool bassline and some synths make this one a very cool and dancy track.

Now, the final single, On Fire. Im not a big fan of this one, to be honest, probably because its a bit too glitchy for my taste, and despite a good bassline, vocals, and the synth halfway, the rest doesnt really seem to fit properly with those 2 elements.
Actually, only the last 2 and a half minutes are of the same quality as the rest of the album.

And at last, the finisher, Saviour Eyes. This one, even though its a nice calm track, it kinda feels like they chose the order of the tracks by process of elimination and this one was last, it could've easily been in the middle.
Still, its quite nice, but despite everything, its a better finsher than others. (yes, im looking at you Phoenix)

In an attempt to not make this post too big, have some tracks. Consider it my Thanksgiving present, since i dont celebrate it.

Modjo - Acknowledgement [right click to download]

Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight) [right click to download]

Modjo - What I Mean [right click to download]

Modjo - Music Takes You Back [right click to download]

Taking you back,


kurmidt said...

totally agree that 'music takes you back' is a killer track on this album, also ian pooley's remix of 'what i mean' kinda makes the original another skip worthy track

Funkow said...

aloud's mix of What I Mean is total banger too. btw, WHATS WITH THE HATE FOR PHOENIX????!!!!!!!!!!

Alex said...

None, i just dont think that Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix doesnt have a good finisher.

Joe said...

The U.K version of this album has some bonus remixes, plus live band versions of "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" and "Chillin'". I'll try and dig them up if you like :)