Robert Charlebois

Heureux en Amour?

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Calling Heureux en Amour? (Happy in Love?) weak feels like an understatement. This LP from 1981 is definitely subpar for Quebec rocker Robert Charlebois. It seems nothing works out. "On Ti Jadin a Matouba" adds absolutely nothing to his thread of Caribbean pop songs. His singing is surprisingly uninvolved and detached (even the love story "Les Chiffres Parlent" fails to convince). Of the four texts he got out of Réjean Ducharme (a very good novelist and one of Charlebois' best lyricists from the '70s), only one is worth mentioning: "Je Suis Né" (I Was Born), a reflection on one's coming of age. Another redeeming song is "Pobre Julio," a sweet-and-sour complaint about a Mexican star losing touch with his family as he spins upward into the spiral of show business. This album yielded one radio hit, "Moi Tarzan, Toi Jane," a first collaboration between Charlebois and lyricist Luc Plamondon. A taste of Robert Charlebois [Je T'aime Comme un Fou], it sucks the singer into the '80s but remains too light a pop song to leave a mark. Everywhere else the production is uncertain, sitting uncomfortably between two decades. Good writing could have salvaged the project; sadly, the singer/songwriter was running on empty at the time. Avoid this album.

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