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Album Review

Belinda Carlisle's career has had several twists and turns, but none has been quite as interesting as her 2007 album Voila, a collection of luxurious covers of classic French pop tunes, all sung in French. Certainly, the very concept of the former new wave queen singing French pop qualifies as one of the more intriguing projects in her solo career, but it's also interesting that she's chosen this idea for her first solo album in ten years. Given that long gap between new albums, it's clear that Voila is no stunt or novelty, it's a passion project for Carlisle and it plays that way: it has the complexity and richness of a labor of love. Which doesn't necessarily mean that this album is filled with surprises, apart from its very existence. Brian Eno may contribute keyboards, but that doesn't mean that these are radical reinterpretations, nor are the selections necessarily left-field: there are a pair of Serge Gainsbourg songs, a Jacques Brel, and a few other songs that should be familiar to rock and pop listeners with a fairly deep grasp of '60s and '70s pop. Those listeners who were raised on punk, new wave, and alt-rock, but with a deep love of the '60s, are clearly the target audience for Voila, and the best thing about the album is that it will not disappoint. This is an elegant, stylish collection of adult pop, gliding by on its sleek synth textures and cabaret atmosphere. Even when it dips into Eurodisco — as it does on occasion, as on Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" — it does so gracefully, and there's an appealing sly decadence to the feel of Voila; it may be a decadence sculpted out of films, LPs, and old photos, one that's knowing but affectionate, but that doesn't mean it's not an alluring, effective mood for the album, particularly because Carlisle sustains it from beginning to end, a problem that she didn't manage to conquer on her big hits of the late '80s. That is a change for her, but the true revelation of Voila is her singing: it's relaxed, assured, and nuanced, the best vocal performance she's had on record. She delivers these songs so smoothly, it's like she's been a chanteuse her entire life, and it's that deep musicality that makes Voila not just a rewarding detour but one of her best albums — and, with any luck, the first chapter in a new phase of her career.

Customer Reviews

Sacré bleu !!!

To her own admission Belinda’s voice has never been polished and her vocal’s were never flawless. She has always had the kind of rough voice that would quite easily fit to singing cool jazz blues in a smokey bar to a small audience. Singing in French suits her perfectly…….. From the heart wrenching ‘Avec le temp’ to the joyous ‘Sous le ciel de Paris’ this album is a roller coaster of emotions. Bonnie et Clyde is probably the most commercial track in this collection and will no doubt be released as the first single. The album climaxes with the ‘Go-Go’esque ‘Jezebel’ and really showcases the power of Belinda’s vocals as she does not sound too dissimilar from Cher. Yes her latest collection is a million miles away from the impressive back catalogue of pop anthems we have come to love. This album is the musical equivalent of Marmite; you will either love it or hate it. Just try and appreciate the raw emotion she uses to translate the meaning of the songs from a foreign language. Indeed the bonus English versions will make you realise that you understood the true meaning of the songs when they were sung in French. That is the true talent shown by Belinda in singing this classic collection, allowing the listener to translate French through vocal emotion. I would not be surprised if this album was nominated for a Grammy in the ‘Foreign Language’ category… such is the quality of Brian Eno’s and Belinda’s collaboration. Voila is a collection of songs evidently from a woman who no longer wishes to compete for that all important record contract chart position, rather this is a labour of love from a lady who has an amazing talent. Welcome back Belinda and ‘Merci’

Excellent experimental contemporary French album

Its been a long time coming by Belinda is BACK! Although I don't understand the meaning of the lyrics, the songs are well arranged, produced and beautifully sung. Belinda's voice is amazing, haunting and stronger than ever. I strongly recommend this album, it is refreshing and great to have such a talent back making music.

Not Her Best Work

I like Belinda Cralisle, but I do not believe this Album does her justice. Here she has mangled records, originally recorded by such greats as Françoise Hardy and Edith Piaf. The originals are far superior, and I would suggest you seek those out rather than waste eight pounds on this download.


Born: 16 August 1958 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Belinda Carlisle pursued a solo career after leaving the Go-Go's in 1984. As her solo career progressed, Carlisle removed any of the rough edges remaining in her style, transforming from a new wave rocker to a polished adult contemporary pop singer. The change was evident on her first album, 1986's Belinda. Featuring the number three hit single "Mad About You," the record went gold and established her as a viable hitmaker. The following year, Carlisle released Heaven on Earth, her greatest solo success....
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Voilà, Belinda Carlisle
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