CD Essence Ordinaire (CD 990070),
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Essence Ordinaire


  • 1. Y'a Pas D'Arrangement - (French)
    2. Tomber la Chemise - (French)
    3. Double Peine - (French)
    4. Tombes des Nues - (French)
    5. Quinze Ans - (French)
    6. Je Crois que Ca Va Pas Et - (French)
    7. Je Suis - (French)
    8. Tout Semble Si... - (French)
    9. On est Chez Nous - (French)
    10. Qualalaradime - (French)
    11. Le Manouche - (French)
    12. Ne dans la Rue - (French)
    13. Le Petit Robert - (French)
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 5578692

  • Credits
    Producer
    Engineer

    The opening "Y Pas de Arrangement" works a bit of James Brown funk into Zebda's rock/rai/raggamuffin mix, and that's a tell-tale signal that Essence Ordinaire is a mellower, more melodic disc. Only "Je Suis" really favors a heavier, rock guitar attack over the funkier, R&B rhythm guitar groove that dominates here; the arrangements are sparer all around, but that doesn't stop the Toulouse, France, septet from delivering another solid effort. Lyricist Magyd Cherfi seems to have been in a reflective mood -- "Quinze Ans" is an affecting, but not particularly nostalgic look back at being 15 and hanging with friends. Both the horn-flavored, sunny yet chunky ska-reggae of "Tomber la Chemise" and "On Est Chez Nous" celebrate the concert tribe and the sense of feeling free in that setting. "Je Crois Que Ca Va Pas Etre Posible" (I Don't Believe That's Going to Be Possible) recounts examples of everyday dreams -- looking for an apartment, going clubbing without being hassled -- running up against the discriminatory reality of being judged by one's appearance. The spiraling instrumental melodies of "Tout Semble Si" also spotlight the mournful Arabic side of Zebda's mix, but strings are featured more heavily and "Tombes des Nues" goes the acoustic-guitar-with-accordion route. So does "Qualalardime," reviving the French-Arab caf flavor in the verses before breaking out in an exuberant string-driven chorus powered by Vincent Sauvage's drums. "Le Manouche" is pretty much in the same vein and Essence Ordinaire boasts fewer potent dance tracks, more singing than rapping, and a stronger French flavor -- a quieter record that shows a different side to Zebda. ~ Don Snowden

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