By: Ben Norman
So my first real exposure to Bob Sinclar as an artist occurred way after his beginnings in the early/mid-90s. I wasn’t familiar with “The Mighty Bop” or Africanism, but 2005’s “Love Generation” was a groundbreaking track to me. The world of circuit music was the dance landscape I was indoctrinated into in the late 90s and early aughts, so something this stirring and beautiful, pushing the messages of love over body image, sex, and drugs was something that touched me very deeply. That, and Gary Pine’s island vocals were the perfect touch to make the track distinctive. So when “World, Hold On” was released in 2006, I was eager to absorb everything about the track, as I had with “Love Generation.” Again, Sinclar was riding the wave of good feeling, this time using the powerful vocals of Steve Edwards, the simple whistle melody just the right touch to this driving club track. So any Sinclar track since has had the standard of those two tracks to live up to, and with 2012’s Disco Crash album, I’m left with a gritty, sour taste in my mouth. Instead of lyrics of good will and love, we have Sophie Ellis-Bextor f***ing with you, Snoop Dogg as a “Wild Thing,” and Mr. Shammi who is…”Not Gangsta”. Either something is lost in translation or Bob Sinclar is looking to be David Guetta’s replacement.
Realistically speaking, I get the idea behind the album. Disco Crash is Sinclar’s effort to showcase himself as a highly marketable producer who should be working with A-list stars. But let’s take a look at a duo of European producers and their effect on the mainstream landscape. First is David Guetta, who’s sound has become so commonplace, so typical, that it’s hard to interpret his music any longer. Where tracks like “Stay” and “Everytime We Touch” called out as brilliant Guetta tracks, his music now is synonymous with Nicki Minaj, The Black Eyed Peas, and Usher. This is great for his bank account, but potentially bad for him as a credible artist, his material straining at every stitch. On the flip side, we have Martin Solveig, a spunky producer who has really gotten a fantastic amount of attention by just being himself. With the huge success of “Hello” with Dragonette, Solveig has branched out recently producing tracks on Madonna’s new album. “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” while not the earth-shattering Madonna track the world expected, was distinctively catchy, offering Solveig a chance to flex his mainstream pop muscles a little further. So where does Sinclar fall in this? Sadly, more akin to Guetta’s side of the meter and further from Solveig’s ingenuity.
Disco Crash is 12 tracks that run the gamut of popular dance styles. “Wild Thing,” the aforementioned Snoop Dogg track, reminds us of “Sweat,” the track the Dogg did with David Guetta. “Far L’amour” with Raffaella Carra and “Not Gangsta” both emulate the highly successful bouncy Italian sound of “We No Speak Americano” and its derivatives. And the “Tainted Love” interpolation in “Put Your Handz Up” with rapper Hot Rod might as well have been used in a Flo Rida track. Similarly, “Rock The Boat,” Pitbull’s contribution to the album (along with Fatman Scoop and Dragonfly) doesn’t sound much different than any of Pitbull’s current tracks on the radio, begging the question of just how much toward originality Sinclar was trying to put forth with this album. And as much as I love her, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “F*** With You” is nothing truly special.
The rest of the album’s tracks fall into even more obscurity than the tracks that actually sound like something else. “The Network,” a deep house track featuring KC Flightt, sounds engaging for about 30 seconds before it loses interest. “Life” and “Tik Tok” both lack anything that truly makes them stand out, although I have to wonder just exactly how relevant Sean Paul is anymore. His vocals on “Tik Tok” make it a little intolerable. And although Ben Onono tries his best on “Life,” it’s the track that samples a classic club favorite that does Onono the most justice. “Rainbow of Love” has a good vibe and flow similar to Sinclar’s mid-aughts tracks, putting Armand Van Helden’s “U Don’t Know Me” strings to good use. And it seems it’s the strings that work the best for Sinclar, as “Magic Fly” may just be one of the top tracks on the album, and it’s an instrumental.
Disco Crash begs a lot of questions, but the biggest question is “Why?” If the album gets Sinclar the attention he needs to get his name into the mainstream production roulette wheel, then more power to him. But when it comes to quality of an album, the majority of Disco crashes and burns. “Rainbow of Love” and “Magic Fly” are my picks for standout from what is sadly a One Star album.
Released April 2012 on Yellow Productions.
Disclosure: Review copy was provided by the record label.