Monday, October 31, 2016

Just Luis-Universal Love (1999)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: October 31, 2016

Ah, just in time for Halloween—a sweet treat for the dance music lovers! The Euro-house singer who calls himself Just Luis becomes the latest mystery artist to be given the spotlight here at "The Music Spectrum". It was more than a year ago when I discovered his lone full studio album entry, "Universal Love", yet I am nowhere closer to unveiling his complete identity. Perhaps some mysteries are better left unsolved; besides, it is these obscure talents who often surprise me and thrill me the most. That last statement held true for the entire fifty-five minute duration I spent indulging in the fourteen tunes offered up here, despite my ears having to get used to Luis's somewhat oddball, distinctively squeaky vocals, which are a cross between something reminding me of those comedic bubblegum Eurodance DJ's with the characteristically mechanical vocals of PET SHOP BOYS' Neil Tennant. Though it is his simple vocals—as I call them—that are half the charm; the remaining allure is the high-energy production that's not too high, in that such warming songs of love, tribute and acknowledgement that are "Save My Life", "You Got Me" and "Universal Love" turn out to be quite the cozy musical companions. The album's first slowed-down number, "The Faith", possesses the simplest of titles and the simplest of accompanying words of wisdom about keeping faith eternally in the heart, but it emerges into a bigger and more beautiful and emotionally-moving piece beyond that, thanks to its excellent hook and the way that the melody escalates in the chorus. And then came my latest 'Music Surprise Of The Day': a fun Euro-house remake of the Don McClean folk classic, "American Pie", whose sound continues to ring and linger in my mental jukebox long after I've turned in to it. Well, that early 70's original had a way of lingering in my head as well, thanks to the countless times I'd heard it on the soft rock and classic rock radio channels in my lifetime and the memorable line in the chorus that goes 'bye bye Miss American pie'. Funny how I often mistook that as a BEATLES song for so many years before I knew the true artist who originally recorded it, although I suppose I was pretty right on with the 'post-psychedelic rock era' mentality. A couple of tracks later, I'd enjoy another dance goodie on "Good Thing". Again, Luis delivers a song whose lyrics are as simple as the title, but the mega-groovy dance beat—an excellent bass line and a slight touch of that disco strobe vibe—brings this one to life! Took me a minute to feel him when his vocals become lofty during his repetitions of ' you got a good thing goin' on ' in main chorus towards the end. Then the sweetest love tribute on the album slides in after that: "The Number One". I immediately liked the moody opening ambiance and the swirly electronic glitz that lead in to the building high-energy beat; therefore, the song was already a favorite even before the mellow tonality of the chords made his words have a lasting effect on me. A breeze of a musical adventure is what "Don't Ever Leave Me" turns out to be while the sunny and calming nature of "Walking Through The Rainbow" had a way of growing on me to the point where I needed to listen to it twice in order to be fully complete. Just Luis is just the nice walk in the park that I always enjoy, and my review of his only studio album gives him all the justice that he deserves:

1. Save My Life
2. Universal Love (Part 1)
3. Universal Love (Part 2)
4. The Faith
5. American Pie (Remix 99)
6. You Got Me
7. Good Thing
8. The Number One
9. Tune 2A
10. I'm In A Heartache
11. Just baby
12. Don't Ever Leave Me
13. Walking Through The Rainbow
14. Don't Ever Leave Me (120 BPM)

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