Thursday, 1 July 2010

Corona X - And Me U

This year 2000 album falls some way short of recapturing Corona's inexhaustible debut Rhythm of The Night and even the highlights from their uneven sophomore effort Walking On Music. Brazillian model and two-time lip-syncer Olga de Souza bravely seizes the opportunity to milk her past glories by finally singing the actual songs herself and does so with a surprising natural ability that could develop brilliantly with a little more training. The most important aspect of the Corona X project is that producer Francesco Bontempi is no longer at the helm, which means Eurodance is most definately out and a firmer imprint of some kind of rock-tinged pop is in its place. Where the tracks are most keen to liberate the 90s icon as a fleshed-out and out dance diva there are no glitches whatsoever, but elsewhere she inadvertantly relies on her badly-phrased sexuality to ensure the experience is worthwhile for longterm fans not knowing what to expect.

The hookcraft on Volcano was never going to top the likes of Baby Baby and her courage to deviate so far into lagging funk-rock territory is admirable at best. Not-quite bristling with its blistering pseudo-slick rock saliva, the song bookends the album in the form of two different versions. The Seismic Mix salutes to her BPM past, tacked on at the end and is almost a completely different song with a faster melody and identical lyrics. However, 'just be rough baby' gets it right from the start and 'I might look passive but I'm fired up' is my favourite line of the whole album. Phallic lines such as 'I might just blow up' also make the song worth a shot or two.

Fabricating emotioans that don't make sense, 'I can't pretend I'm all milk and honey' does her best to guarantee satisfaction on Everything You Need.

First single Good Love was a good start to launch the campaign, splattered with piano keys and repetitive refrains signifying rejoice. Not a million miles away from the aesthetic of I Don't Wanna Be A Star, a pleasant pounding always goes a long way in my book - I even say the same on my gaydar profile (I am kidding). Her nknowable vocal allure plays it safe, but she's better than most.

Her quivery-quaver on drippy love-drenched ballad And Me U is nice, even if what she's singing ain't. Think Home by La Toya Jackson. Really. The vocals are delicate, skimming the surface as we endure a bit of a strum-fest (girlfriend needs a better technique if it takes her 3:46 minutes to reach a climax).

Pensive sleep-enducer Thinking About You is comprised of pleasant enough elements, but is pure fabrication. 'I get a hit just thinking about you' is quite just about worth one listen at the very least. She sounds alarmingly similar to the feathery-throat of Diana Ross - especially when delivering her best romantic dialogue turn ('no matter what I do or where I go my mind seems to wonder back to the thought of you' is the kind of stunning prose not heard since 'give me a little more bass' all those years ago).

Step Right Up has higher aims and thank fuck, the scintilating beats come thick and fast for a long overdue pounding. Piano keys trip over themselves, the groove ploughs deep and Olga even sings a little, giving it her convincing makeshift soul-mamma routine.

Compassionate outpouring Let Me Share Your Secret is a breazy reggae-lite snorer, but an informative rap does prove helpful:

You know there's a rule
If u wanna keep a secret just keep it cool
But then, in the heat of the night

It is hard to keep, and it is hard to hide

In your heart I will read with my lips
In your soul I will feel with my fingertips

You cant decieve me anymore like you did before no no

Calling her song Baby, Give It Up puts her on thin ice, and being 8ft tall makes that very dangerous for poor Olga. Almost finding some middle ground between her new found thirst for Eurovision-rock and pedestrian dance, it kind of does what it says on the tin pretty quickly. 'Slide on over' works well for getting results even if the enjoyment is clearly one sided.

On A Day Like Today is a gutsier attempt at generating some viable heat from her adult-contemporary agenda. Verses tread thin, but the chorus makes it sound like a rather satisfying Jeniffer Rush guitar-structured pop song.

Mid-way slump of sorts, All I Ever Wanted's treacly sentiments are like pre-cum when one is wanting something a bit juicier and thicker. Yes, I went there - if her songs can be contrived then so can my attempts at low-brow humour.

Dance cut I Only Came To Dance gets back on track and would have slotted in very nicely on Cher's Believe album. Joyous liberation. Donna Summer would have lapped this up in the 80s for a 'fan-favourite' B-side. It really is good.

Claustrophobic rocker Fired Up is very regretful with guitar riff dodgier than Kylie's nose (who also has the better X if we're going there). Boldly gasping 'I'm burning up baby, do you know how I feel? Hot, haaaaght' is yet another example of this old pro saving her ass through the sheer grit of her intensely infectious persona.


The eurodisco/dance-pop wilderness of Corona X offers small surprises, what with out of fashion dance grooves, synthetic basslines and recurring rock-tinged adult contempory pop ambitions, but when simplifying her albeit-ventureless dance songs (Good Love, Step Right Up and I Only Came To Dance), for willing fans at the very least, she skyrockets mild euphric heights that are as tall as her legs. Lucky for her, Olga's charisma easily translates onto much of And Me You even if sales were much harder to come by.


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