Review – David Usher

Album: Let It Play
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Genre: Rock/Pop

With the world being as divisive as it is these days, and with both Brexit in the UK and more recently the American election results driving that home, perhaps there has never been a more appropriately times album release than the November 4th release of David Usher’s Let It Play. A collection of Anglicized renditions of popular Francophone songs which in itself tries to be a unifier in our on very divisive language issues we face in Canada, particularly in Quebec.

Throughout the recording Usher stays relatively faithful to the instrumental tracks of the songs and to as much of a degree as possible the original meanings behind them, translating only the lyrics as much as possible. The stand out track on the album is arguably his interpretations of Ingrid St-Pierre’s haunting piano ballad “Tokyo Jellybean”. The harmonies between the duo only adding to the poignancy of Usher’s beautiful translation of the track.

The reimagining of DUMAS’ “Ne Me Dis Pas”, “Let It Play, from which the album takes it’s name perhaps most accurately captures the essence of the project. A light-hearted, poppy number that speaks to love, life, hopes and dreams. “Time to believe, that we’re not afraid” Usher sings to a jaunty beat that makes you want to jump to your feet and dance without a care in the world. A message we all need in ties like those we now face.

On an otherwise solid album one does have to question however the inclusion of a French version of “Black, Black Heart”; the fourth version of the song to date. Not that it is poorly done, to the contrary it is in fact a very well executed track. In the lead up to the album David himself said that “Musically, after 11 albums I wanted to try something different.” so it has to be asked, with three versions having already been released why fall back to the one track that has been done to death? With so many other songs he could have selected in its stead that would have held up under the translation process; for example “My Way Out” (also from Morning Orbit); much of the impact has been lost as a large portion of the target audience will find themselves shrugging as they say, “oh this song again”.

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