Jean-Pierre Ferland

Soleil

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Jean-Pierre Ferland's follow-up to the critically acclaimed Jaune came back to a more traditional approach to songwriting while integrating its rock elements. Paul Baillargeon leads a 30-piece orchestra on most of the tracks, but what they bring strays far from the arrangements found in Jacques Brel's recordings, for example. By choosing the title Soleil (Sun), Ferland clearly indicated a filiation between the two records (yellow, sun). The musical conceptual continuity is here shifted to the lyrical level, as most songs include a reference to the sun. There are a couple of weak tracks ("Toi et Moi," "Fais Dodo") and Ferland's crooner persona creeps back in (the subject of love is central), but this album remains one of his very strong ones. It yielded a bunch of classic songs: the opener, "Le Monde Est Parallèle" (with his most intriguing melody); "Au Fond des Choses le Soleil Emmène au Soleil" (Deep Down the Sung Brings to the Sun); and the biker rock of "Sur la Route 11" and "Mon Ami J.C.," where he offers his friend J.C. (Jesus Christ, of course) a Pepsi in a paper cup. A big-budget production, Soleil does not disappoint. The orchestra is well used and pushes the singer to new emotional heights. The writing is strong, with many catchy melodies and interesting ideas, including the singalong "Si On S'Y Mettait." The concluding medley picks up the best themes previously heard in an attempt to bring the album full circle. This trick worked well in Jaune (through the tracks "Prologue," "...," and "Épilogue"), but here it only sounds like a lame attempt to bring the two-LP set to a barely acceptable length: a few seconds under 60 minutes. Soleil is one of the very few Ferland titles to have made it to the CD format.

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