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Jean-Michel Jarre - Révolutions CD (album) cover

RÉVOLUTIONS

Jean-Michel Jarre

 

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3.12 | 55 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Viva le revolution!

My first experience with Jean Michel Jarre was his well-known Oxygene album which I must admit I don't like much at all. I do enjoy the most obvious parts of that album (Oxygene parts II and IV) but the rest of it is just transportation to my ears. Revolution is a very different beast; a bit more melodic, a bit more rhythmic, less experimental and not strictly electronic. The album is partly conceptual and the theme of the album is simply change and different kinds of revolution. The opening 16 minute, four-part suite is dedicated to the industrial revolution. This surprisingly symphonic piece is one of the best works I've heard from Jean Michel Jarre (but I have only heard a few of his many albums up to this point). He cleverly uses a "mechanical" and propulsive rhythm here to depict the mechanization of this historical period. Some works of Kraftwerk readily comes to mind, especially Trans-Europe Express and its Metal On Metal.

The other track here that is obviously connected to the overall theme of the album is the title track and this is also the best track apart from the four-part suite. Again, I'm reminded of Kraftwerk here particularly given the sparse and very "robotic" vocals - the only vocals you find on this album (except some choirs on September). The World-Music influence does however put it apart from Kraftwerk. I don't explicitly remember ever hearing this song before, but it somehow feels like a classic.

The rest of the album is much weaker and lacks a clear direction. Computer Weekend is a decent piece very much in the style of Vangelis circa Spiral, but quite unexciting. The two "kids", London Kid and Tokyo Kid, are also not bad as such, but quite unremarkable. The former of these numbers is notable for featuring Hank Marvin of The Shadows on guitar while the latter is a slow, jazzy piece drenched in trumpet. The problem with these numbers is that they are rather one-dimensional and never seem to get off the ground. September is a rather tedious number with a very repetitive and unimaginative yeah-yeah-yeah vocal. The bombastic The Emigrant comes as something of a relief and rounds the album off well enough.

To sum up. Revolutions contains some very good material but also some rather trite and dull material. What started so well sadly ended up in mediocrity towards the end.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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