Come Closer

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Come Closer is Tarkan's first English-language album after several years as a Madonna-level superstar in his native Turkey. With his well-scrubbed, boyish looks, blue-eyed-soul voice and fondness for ear-grabbing, gimmicky arrangements a la the Neptunes, Tarkan comes across like a Turkish Justin Timberlake. On the best parts of Come Closer, particularly the first single "Bounce" and the insistently catchy "Why Don't We (Aman Aman)" (which comes complete with a cameo by Wyclef Jean), Tarkan strikes a delicate balance between creamy dance-pop goodness and cheesy, over-produced plasticity. A few songs fall too far on the wrong side of that balance, such as the irritating "Start the Fire" and the hyperactive, Black Eyed Peas-like "Don't Leave Me Alone," but on songs like the snaky electro-belly dance "Shikidim" and the dreamy love jam of a title track, Tarkan makes all the right moves. Much as happened when Shakira did the English-language crossover with Laundry Service, longtime fans and pan-cultural hipsters might blanch at how thoroughly Americanized this take on commercial dance-pop is, but fans of the form will find much to love regardless.

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