Saturday, June 3, 2017

RAPTOR-Day Shock (1996)


Not so shocking that I've breached brand new cultural horizons once again with my music listening! An interesting discovery I've made along my current Eurodance adventure is this Thai teenage pop duo that called itself RAPTOR. And with this discovery, my first time ever hearing music of any variety in the Thai language was had.....although in a bit of a different way than I expected. I'd assumed at the outset that all of the non-English title tracks would be where I'd get all of my Thai exposure; for the most part, I was right on. Though the opener surprised me the instant the wailing, distorted voice of a female house diva is repeating 'can you feel the desire? and can you feel the pain?' before the high-energy rhythm kicks into full throttle, followed by the very familiar wails of the wild 'whoo!' that is so often used on classic Eurodance songs which, by itself, makes it as addicting of an affair as it is! I actually could've taken those wails of 'whoo!' and the dance rhythm as an instrumental-only rave groove, but it was fun hearing that coupled with words from a foreign language that I'm not yet too familiar with. The track right afterwards would give me my second surprise. A major downshift from the energetic Eurodance to the softly jazzed-up and chilled-to-the-bone arrangement for this beautiful slow groove, which starts off with the boys singing in Thai before all of a sudden, I would hear the words changed over to 'if you look in my eyes, you find the feeling I've tried to hide, when I'm close to you, I feel like you love me too'—clearly in English! And just when I had been thinking to myself all throughout up until that point, 'this is feeling like a song I wish I understood the lyrics to'..... Me and my ears were happy after that! As a bonus treat for listeners, there is an alternative 'Friends Version' where it sounds like the boys are performing the song in paired unison. And just when I was wondering that 'Friends' was referring to, I considered both the fact that this is a paired performance and that the lyrics this time were performed entirely in Thai, as if it was meant to appeal to only friends and fans native to the Far East. The remaining selections here on "Day Shock" are performed in pure English, and I must say that every one of them is pleasantly satisfactory. "I'll Never Dance Again", despite the negative title and the accompanying theme, is a very nice and breezy mid-tempo piece full of lush vocals to sink your ears into. I wouldn't declare it definitely until I got to "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely", but this RAPTOR duo sure can be charming with their lofty voices on these slowed-down, cuddly love songs that sparkle and glimmer and glide along ever so gracefully. "Oh My Love" is a real keeper; it gets me thinking about any of those fuzzy holiday tunes with only the dreamy backing ambiance wrapping the music up in a warm blanket. I was especially impressed with their mature remake of the tender Johnny Mathis classic, "The Twelfth Of Never"; by then, the boys had demonstrated to me that they can take on any of these golden oldies and make them pop-tastic! If the thrilling Eurodance opener was intended to be a shock to the system, then the pair of "Let's Live For Today" and "Johnny Can't Read" crank that electrifying voltage up a few notches! The former gets me hooked with its groovy electronic Euro-house beat and the catchy chorus, highlighted by the repetitive 'sha la la la la la, live for today'. As for the latter, they tell a down-to-earth story about a guy who never learned any useful skills to get far in life. As bad as it sounds (I wonder if it really was a true story?), I found the song to be quite humorous; them quickly mentioning all of the simple things that Johnny just couldn't grasp the concept of, plus the outrageously supercharged techno/happy hardcore rhythm and the robotic, computerized voice repeating the song title throughout, played a huge role in that:

1. อย่าพูดเลย (Underground version)
2. แรงบันดาลใจ
3. I'll Never Dance Again
4. Let's Live For Today
5. Just Don't Want To Be Lonely
6. Entrance
7. แรงบัลดาลใจ (Friends Version)
8. Oh My Love
9. Johnny Can't Read
10. The Twelfth Of Never
11. แรงบันดาลใจ (Instrumental)

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