Cali- L'amour Parfait (Labels, 2004)
Cali is a French singer and erstwhile rugby player, who'd been in various punk and alternative bands before releasing this, his first solo album, in 2004. The album's big hit, 'Elle M'a Dit' (She Told Me) is still being played on the radio, 5 years later. It was everywhere last year; I couldn't go to a supermarket without hearing it over the PA. There's a reason it was the album's biggest hit; it's by far the best song here. The rest of it is pretty much your standard French-language chanson-influenced adult pop; Cali's voice is pleasant, there are bits of viola and saxophone to inject a little bit of personality, it sounds like he's been listening to a lot of Radio 2. It's not awful, it's perfectly passable, but there are 1001 French singers doing the same thing. If the lyrics were at the level of the chanson music he claims as an influence, this would be lovely. But they're the usual 'I love you, you don't love me, occasional French existential metaphor, I am so lonely without you' and therefore the album's stuck with James Morrison and Katie Melua as competition.
On the other hand, musically 'Le Grand Jour' is basically a baroque piano prelude followed by a great Handel-esque string arrangement, and 'Fais De Moi Ce Que Tu Veux' is orchestrated very well, again with a great string section.