Judith Bérard

Ailleurs

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Taking her diva lessons from Celine Dion, French singer Judith Berard approaches her music much the same way. Her range is comparable, although Berard's attempts at the upper registers result in an endearing strain that gives her music a more personal feel than Dion's. Between her gorgeous voice and the memorable arrangements (mostly from contributors like Dominique Owen and Diane Cadieux), Ailleurs is a very surprising blend of catchy pop/rock and showstopping ballads. She hits the high notes early, going into the blustery-yet-winning "I Miss U So" after only one song. It manages to maintain that level of energy throughout, trading off between drawing its strength from her voice and drawing its strength from the up-tempo music. Both techniques are highly successful, leading to one of the more interesting and clever pop albums to come from France in 2000. Fans of Dion and her fellow divas should find a lot to like about Berard, despite the language difference she delivers an album just as good (if not better) than their material.

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