Due to my podcast, I often find myself listening to music that is outside of my entirely wheelhouse and don’t know what to do with it. But sometimes I find an album like this where I recognize elements but I also don’t have the listening context to know why these elements arranged in such a way are a big deal.
I get why this record is appealing. What I have more trouble with is why this record was such a big deal. I think it’s because it helped start a trend in a chiller version of the fusion of electronic and popular music that had already been occurring during the decade. I think the contribution here is stronger melodies and a, pardon me, airier sound. But I have really no idea, because the intersection between electronic music and popular music is something I’ve just become familiar with recently.
The music itself feels like the kind of pop music you might not be meant to actively listen to; as many others have noted, there’s a definite ambient vibe to the whole thing – or at least everything without vocals – even though it’s clearly pop music. It seems to be some kind of hybrid between ambient and pop, something I wasn’t really aware existed.
About those vocals: don’t love them, regardless of the singer. The French lyrics have that “it’s sexy because it’s French” vibe I get from Stereolab. The English singer has an odd accent (affectation?) for someone from Tampa.
This is not my kind of music but it is very well made: it’s clear there has been a lot of thought put into constructing these tracks.I might rate it higher if I knew it really was hugely influential on the whole “downtempo” thing. But I can’t say that I will spend any time with it going forward. It’s too nondescript for me.