Francis Cabrel

(CD - #5032388)

Review by Samuel Johnson

On Fragile, Cabrel doesn't stray far from the approach of his preceding album, Les Chemins de Traverse, alternating uptempo blues-oriented rockers with ballads and smooth pop rock. The artistic production plays to the strengths of his singer/songwriter style, minimizing distractions, sticking to mostly acoustic instruments, and allowing the focus to remain on the melody and lyrics. It's something of a shame that the songs aren't as strong as on many of Cabrel's other recordings. There are some bright spots on the album, such as "Elle écoute pousser les fleurs." Cabrel serves up a fine vocal performance on the track, the lyrics are picturesque and the melody is pleasing. The song may be worth hearing for the surprise ending alone (try to ignore the solo near the end, credited as being a child's piano). "Le petit gars," co-written with Georges Augier de Moussac, is a good example of Cabrel's lyric writing abilities. Also, "De l'autre côté de toi" features some nice harmonies and slide guitar work. For the most part, though, the album is not too memorable.