One of the fun things about doing this feature is encountering artists the second time around. I get to match up the new tracks with my thoughts from the previous batch. Are they really as bad as I thought? Are they still hilarious and talented? Unfortunately, I occasionally forget an audience in the interim weeks and end up repeating myself. Not this time. I saw Juanitos and immediately got excited.
If you don’t remember from last time, I ended up a big Juanitos fan. They’re French guys singing (occasionally) in English, content to barrage you with upbeat and unrelenting three-minute gems. It’s light-hearted and peppy, nothing wrong with that.
On the flipside, we have another Frenchman, Philippe Mayné, who also dabbles in a little bit of everything. He plays multiple instruments, borrows from numerous styles, and – here’s the kicker – fancies the didgeridoo. Well, I’m not sure how prominently it’s featured in his oeuvre, but it’s on tap this week.
Yeah, I know. This week is shaping up to be a weird one. Just hit the jump, okay?
What is it about foreigners purposefully maiming our silly language that’s so endearing? Do French people find it funny when they come to Ohio and discover that the town Versailles is actually pronounced Ver Sales? I’m not sure they do. Regardless, I think “Ev’body Love the Partys” is a hilarious song title (I’m going with the spelling on their website). And I don’t doubt they misspelled everything on purpose. The main reason to ride this song, if the title hasn’t already sold you, is the James Brown-like dance naming that occurs. Listen to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (around the minute mark) if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. You have to wonder if these guys (and Mr. Brown, occasionally) are naming real hit moves or just making crap up. Les Juanitos go full force lyrically, spitting out women’s names, dances, and what may or may not be nonsense. Lucky for them, it suits the tongue-in-cheek, Let’s Just Have Fun vibe of the song. The main lick features some fantastic electric organ playing, which gets expounded upon in the solo section. Nothing says good times like a peppy fake organ. Thankfully, the ride isn’t one-note. There’s a challenging difference between the traffic of the chorus and that of the main riff. The sustained vocals of “Ev’body love the partys” churn out a few streams of traffic, while the punchy lick requires some deft lane changing if you’re going to chain some matches. All in all, a solid, goofy track.
Audiosurf user dschallert says this about “She Dance Flamenco”: “You know what, this song kicks ass…A French band singing about a Spanish Dance in English. I mean, what [more] do you want?!?!?!” This is one of those instances where I didn’t know I wanted something until I had it. There’s something incredibly infectious about this one. Anyone who has ever wrinkled their nose at Ska might want to abstain, however. The horns and offbeat drumming channel the same gleeful abandon of reggae-infused pop. It wants you to relax – by completely flipping out. And I’m all for that. I love the rockabilly guitar solo in the middle. I was half expecting another virtuosic electric organ passage (see above), but the guitar added another dimension I didn’t expect. Besides, the organ guy spends the rest of the song wiling out anyway. Why does she dance flamenco? I don’t know. Play this song and let me know if you figure it out.
I have a bone to pick with Philippe Mayné. His tracks promise didgeridoo. And while, yes, they do contain the instrument, they in no way featured it. “Unplugged” is basically an electric guitar jam that happens to feature the didgeridoo on the bass line. It’s pretty conventional: acoustic guitar, light drums, electric guitar kicks in for a melody, drums pick up late in the song. All laid over a…didgeridoo. I don’t know about this. My initial impression is that too much attention was paid to the rest of the track and not enough to the English horn of the Outback. A fine ride, sure. The quality of ride you could easily get from half your music library. But there’s nothing to write home about, not even a didgeridoo. Then there’s Misnomer of the Week: “Blues for Didj.” I heard more smooth jazz guitar than I did didj, (that’s what the hep cats call it) and at one point I actually lost track of it. Do not call your piece “Blues for Didj” and then bury the damn thing under layers of blues grooves and elevator guitar. Midway through the song, there’s a break where I thought I was going to hear some serious didgeridooing (that’s a word, right?). Nope. Cue electric organ solo. A casual Internet search reveals more than a few instances of the didgeridoo sounding like nothing you’ve ever heard. Get with the picture, Philippe. Pump up the didj!
All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Vegas and Eraser characters. After that, I spent time going down a rabbit hole of aboriginal YouTube clips. I left extremely confused.