Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marque-Transparent (2004)


Switching back now to some personal music requests that I recently fulfilled for myself, which first sees me reconnecting with the Austrian pop singer whom I've only known by the single name of Marque. It was more than six years ago when I got attached to him through his "Freedomland" album, and that started a long quest to obtain every one of his albums released before and after. I'm 80% of the way there, having finally acquired 2004's "Transparent". A couple of things I didn't realize about it until today: one, that "Transparent" happened to be his very last known studio album to date; two, it contained a trio of songs from his previous album, "Pirate Of My Soul". One thing I'd never forgotten, however, is he was vocally talented, and I would be reminded of that the moment he dazzled me on the opening acapella number simply entitled "GOD"—in all capital letters, no less, perhaps to signify that it truly is a standout performance. He lyrically sings about The Almighty Creator being scared of him; now that's something different you don't hear all the time! The religious overtones resurface later on "God's Love", where he spreads the good news and asks listeners if they've ever heard about The One and his unconditional love. It's one of the many songs that demonstrates how well he does the acoustic guitar tunes, although this one explodes into a powerful, gritty vocal performance by the time the song climaxes in its later movements! I'm pretty sure I game all three of them rave reviews when I heard them the first time on "Pirate Of My Soul", but I have to rave once more about "Superstar", "Sorry But I Wonder" and "The Reason Why". I really like Marque's vocals and the overall mellow sound on "Superstar", dig the full-on high-energy rock sound and the cool, digitized vocals repeating his words to the chorus on "Sorry But I Wonder" and am captivated again by the orchestral ambiance that leads into "The Reason Why", plus the way his voice becomes high and lofty in his breathless deliverance of 'who I am' in the closing movements. There's a warming charm I like in a simple, breezy tune like "Everyday", where he confesses his love for a special lady every moment of his life, and "That's All", which inspires those who seem lost and abandoned to find a little love to turn things around. I especially liked the latter one, noting the great piano arrangement and how much it brought to mind any of those elegantly-produced BRUCE HORNSBY & THE RANGE songs I always hear on the contemporary radio stations. There's one song that impressed and captured my senses more than anything else: "You Used To". It's a sad story about him telling about all the ways that a lady doesn't show her love anymore, and the heartache is almost tangible in Marque's soft, whispery vocals. The song becomes even more gripping with the soulful collective voices in the background during the chorus, and that's the same gripping effect that puts the concluding piece, "Rose Without A Thorn", on a high pedestal, as he employs a full church choir to push forth the message that he's never seen something so beautiful without a bad side:

1. GOD
2. Gone Now
3. Superstar
4. You Used To
5. God's Love
6. As Long As She Smiles
7. Sorry But I Wonder
8. That's All
9. Ringaling
10. The Reason Why
11. Everyday
12. Rose Without A Thorn

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