Halftime Leisure

Critical Voices: Simone Felice, Strangers

March 27, 2014

Warning–this album is not the one to put on as background noise whilst drowning in caffeine and cramming for tomorrow’s exam. If you do, you will undoubtedly fall asleep. How do I know? Let’s call it intuition. But, if you’ve just taken that exam and are now rocking back and forth in an attempt to recover from the horror, this album is a perfect soundtrack to regaining your sanity.

Simone Felice’s Strangers is a relatively short and sweet collection of works, basically consisting of a series of harmonious melodies played over piano and guitar, plus the occasional violin thrown in here and there. Simone’s voice, unwavering in its neat-with-a-hint-of-raspy sound compliments the stripped down music in a very balanced manner, as there is no sense of one working to outshine the other.

There are a few songs that stand out, particularly the somber “Bastille Day” towards the end of the album. This song, while sticking to Felice’s formulaic style, incorporates a melody to which you just can’t help but sway with the soft cadence. It’s one of the most serene songs of the albums, with flowing vocals over a gorgeous piano refrain – a definitely download recommendation for anyone in need of relaxation. So, basically, every student on this campus at one point or another.

[soundcloud url=”https://soundcloud.com/teamlove/bastille-day/s-Q60ff” comments=”true” auto_play=”false” color=”ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″]

Another highlight is the mid-album pick-me-up, “The Best that Money Can Buy”. This song, from the perspective of adoring husband serenading his love with the beautiful things that he wishes to “buy” for her, is a perfect example of beauty in simplicity. Felice’s straightforward style gives this song an authentic and loving feel, as he croons, “A child that’ll never get old, my love/ a child that will never die/ the best that money can buy.” This song also includes a wonderfully soulful trumpet solo that perfectly compliments the pure and romantic nature of the lyrics.

[soundcloud url=”https://soundcloud.com/teamlove/the-best-that-money-can-buy/s-Q60ff” comments=”true” auto_play=”false” color=”ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″]

One critique of this collection is its tendency to blend together. The album on the whole feels a bit safe. Felice never really expands out of his comfort zone of pretty, symmetrical melodies that are sure to please the ear merely out of the principles of harmonics.

All In all though, what this album lacks in variety and complexity, it makes up for in the extent of its simplicity.There is no pretense in Felice’s music. It knows it is straightforward and doesn’t claim to be anything else, and in doing so supasses the work of several big name artists in its sheer sincerity.

Voices Choices “Best that Money Can Buy,” “Bastille Day”

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