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Bertine Zetlitz - Rollerskating (2004) Retail CD
The rare dance-pop opus that hangs together as an album first and a collection of songs second, the fourth full-length by Norwegian pop auteur Bertine Zetlitz - a bona-fide star in her homeland though virtually unknown elswehere - is musical and emotional masterstroke: strange, stirring, seductive, spellbinding. Given her roots in electronic pop, and those of producer Fred Ball (aka Pleasure), with whom Zetlitz wrote every song on the album, it's surprisingly, refreshingly organic in sound. Over half of the tracks feature live drums, and even those that don't find some way of generating a resoundinglymore… human warmth - washes of steel guitar here; a smoldering saxophone lead there - within a loose, underlying synth-pop framework. Although it's not overtly retro, the effect is to recall the lush electric pianos and full-band feel of the 1970s funk and disco rather than the icy, synthesized electro-'80s that was such a prevalent 2000s touchstone (for fellow Norwegian Annie's contemporaneous Anniemal, for instance.) Opener "Ah-Ah" is a chunky, acoustic-guitar driven funk-pop workout with triangle flourishes � la Phoenix's "Everything is Everything"; "Fake Your Beauty" is a full-on disco strut reminiscent of Chic. Those two were the singles (and "Beauty" deservedly topped the Norwegian charts), but there are several other dance-pop nuggets of equal caliber, the slinky "Kiss Me Harder" and scintillating "Want You" among them. Even more compelling, though, are the slower, less overtly danceable numbers wherein the album's curious, alluring, yet vaguely sinister tone is most evident.
The album artwork depicts the glassy-eyed, nordicly stunning Zetlitz wandering through a deep, dark, verdant forest improbably populated with cartoon bats, a man made out of vines, and an eerily illuminated slot machine. It's a bizarre, arresting series of images, aptly suited to the album's evocative if often inscrutable lyrics, whose dreamlike lucidity is also well captured in Zetlitz's dulcet but detached delivery. References abound to candy, butterflies, rollercoasters, and the like - but their sweetness is undercut by frequent allusions to guns, drugs, obsession, and all manner of emotional fragility and frigidity, as in the cryptic character sketches "Candy" and "Wicked Wonderboys" ("she's got a cool quiet complexion/she's got a weird taste for deception") Even the seeming reassurance of the stately, heartbreakingly poignant ballads "If You Were Mine" and "Broken" is couched in often disconcerting imagery ("it occurred to me you might be injured/cause my dress got stained from your touch.") The legendary Scandinavian penchant for pop perfection notwithstanding, it's a rare treat to encounter an album so simultaneously idiosyncratic and cohesively well-crafted.
|2||Fake Your Beauty|
|4||If You Buy the Blue One|
|5||Kiss Me Harder|
|10||Back Where I Belong|
|11||If You Were Mine|
- Bertine Zetlitz - Rollerskating (2004) Retail CD
- 1405 x 1389 px
- 758 KB
- 93 (0 today)
- 06/09/08 by pontiacc
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