Monday, June 12, 2017

Haddaway-Pop Splits (2005)


Despite the oodles of music recommendations and other unopened music gifts awaiting my anxious ears, I continue to move forward with catching up with some of the treats from my favorite artists that I've been missing out on. That means completing my listening to Haddaway's studio discography, which I at last accomplished today with the forty-three minutes of sheer entertainment that this "Pop Splits" album turned out to be! I had been curious what the 'splits' referred to, then realized that, on alternate versions, the twelve songs were divided into four sections: 'Nestor' (Haddaway's middle name), 'My Soul', 'Party Trax' and 'Nice Trash'. Of course, I had to conjure up my predictions on the type of music that would be featured in each section, though I would discover that, although I would be fairly right on, I would still be pleasantly surprised yet again. Starting with my rave reviews about the 'Party Trax' seems appropriate, considering that Haddaway has always been known as one of the iconic stars of the Eurodance genre. Here is where we find the disco-groovy, feelgood opener, "What In Your World?" (as in, what in the world would it take to make a believer out of the woman?), plus "Lay Your Head" and the big-time jam, "Not In My Bed", where a soulicious female diva joins in to help Haddaway deliver the title lyrics in the chorus which, after being looped repeatedly throughout virtually the entire 3+ minutes, gives the song its addicting, catchy charm. But the interesting thing here is that those three aren't the only high-energy jams featured on this "Pop Splits" adventure! Indeed, there's another Euro-disco trio waiting to be indulged in from the 'Nice Trash' section, which I had assumed would be something more along the lines of alternative rock, as I tend to associate some forms of rock music with 'trash'. "All I Want Is You", the follow-up to the album's opener, is a simple feel-gooder where his earnest words of 'all I want is you' above the cheery crowd ambiance, the sparkly glitz and the thumping bass line are enough to make it a new Haddway favorite of mine! "Fallen Angel" maintains that Eurodance glitz and disco bass line while also mantaining the 'heavenly' feel that nearly every 'angel' song I hear possesses, in some form or another (here, it's all in the chords of the chorus—a lofty, carefree air about it even). Then there's "High On You", which my ears met with instant satisfaction the very moment the starry, late-night twinkly sound of the chords beneath the beat sparked my senses. In short, there is absolutely nothing 'trashy' about this particular trio! I would get some Haddaway alternative rock elsewhere, however. On the funky concluding cut, "Catch U If I Can", the message is all about man's determination to get the love he wants. "Missionary Man", I assumed, would be a cover of the EURYTHMICS classic from the 80's (I know it well!), but the message is totally different. This too is a new Haddaway favorite—not only because the outstanding vocals throughout (the soulful backup voices and that soulicious female soul diva partnering with him all throughout), but also because of the fabulous music arrangement consisting of an eclectic mix of rock, techno and synthpop. As I stated in my review of Haddaway's previous album, "My Face", the Trinidad-born singer shows off some true versatility whenever he performs the touching ballads. For the 'My Soul' section, we have three good ones: "It Was Nice" (a rather bittersweet song about a romantic joyride that's reached its end, but with the possibility of that ride resuming later on), "Shout" and "Turn Her Love" (almost bluesy in nature, with the screaming guitar riffs throughout adding an extra mournful edge to the song), plus the piano-driven piece called "Spaceman", whose story about people asking if somebody is 'out there' in space casts a warming glow onto the listener:

1. What In The World?
2. All I Want Is You
3. Fallen Angel
4. It Was Nice
5. Missionary Man
6. Shout
7. Turn Her Love
8. Not In My Bed
9. Lay Your Head
10. Spaceman
11. High On You
12. Catch You If You Can

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