I’ll admit to it. One of the things that I love the most about travelling is the shopping. That is probably a stereotypically girly thing to say, but it’s the truth, especially when I’m in Francophone countries. The problem that I face, at times, is being someone who speaks French rather fluently, is finding French media that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to import to the United States [where I am currently studying French Literature at university, but that’s neither here nor there.]. When I was taking my undergraduate courses, I was introduced to M Pokora via our Table Française, our weekly conversation group. It’s rare for me to take to a new artist as quickly and as fanatically as I did to him, but I’m glad that I did. When I was in Paris last month, I went in with a shopping plan…which was very quickly thrown out the window once I got to FNAC and saw a huge sign in the window that proclaimed loudly and with a great deal of pride “SOLDES”. I knew I was in trouble. Armed with my credit card and a “please don’t let me spend a bajillion euro in here” sense of resolve, in I went and upstairs I found myself eyeballs deep in coffrets (boxed sets) on offer…and they had M Pokora. And Christophe Maé and I knew I was done for. Besides, who could honestly pass up MP3 / Mise à Jour 2.0 in the two for a tenner sale? I mean. HONESTLY. In the midst of my coffret collecting, I managed to pick up A La Poursuite du Bonheur, his newest, which was also under a giant SOLDES!!!!!! banner. No complaints from the peanut gallery! The French press had been raving about it so I figured…why not.
OH MAN. HOLEEE CRAP. I do realise that he had put the album up on his youtube channel, but there’s nothing that can really beat sitting down and giving it a good listen in one go. I’m, admittedly, pretty crap at this whole album review writing lark but HOLEEEEE CRAP. Comparing Mise à Jour to A La Poursuite du Bonheur is like comparing cheese to pineapple. You just can’t do it. ALPDB is beautifully crafted. He’s gotten rid of the autotune and the “Justin Timberlake” tag that seemed to have followed him around the press with MàJ and he’s allowed himself to evolve into a real artist. It’s as if he’s grown up overnight. He’s got this amazing voice that sometimes gets buried under studio trickery and I cannot be happier that he’s ignored a lot of that on this record. It seems, to me at least, that that he had gone from “I’m trying really hard” to “organic and natural recording process.” I think that can be reflected on how he’s approached how he’s touring on this record, as well because there seems to be more Pokora and his band than Pokora and his dancers, which is always a good sign, in my opinion.
I’m fully convinced that if I hadn’t have gone to Paris I would never have picked this up because at 10€ versus $45 USD….it’s a no brainer. Money aside, though, I don’t think that I would have thought to pick this up if I hadn’t have gone at this point in my life and it would have been relegated to the “oh I like this song but it gets pushed back into the back of my mind and it will get deleted off iTunes in three months” pile. I always try to pick up something like this in each of the countries that I visit because it works better as a souvenir, for me, than any little trinket or whatever that I could have picked up elsewhere. From here on out, this record will always and forever be anchored in my mind as the disc that was the soundtrack to my experience in Paris.
Below is one of my favourite songs off the new record, Si Tu Pars. (it sounds just as good live as it does recorded. The kid’s got chops.) Once I got it, I GOT it and it was a punch in the throat. I hope that you guys like it as much as I do 🙂