ALAIN CLARK / “Alain Clark Mixtape”

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Well I think there are two really important things to follow in life. Love is number one and to have a good time is number two. From love there are a lot of categories to take from it - you have your friends and family and you need all those people to have a good time. Everyone is running around concerned about doing their own thing, which is a good because it keeps the world moving but it's those moments when you are with friends and family, it doesn't matter if you are the President, an artist or you work in a bakery. It's those moments you hold on to. That's my philosophy.
—Alain Clark
I don’t much care for pop. I always get the feeling that pop is music lite. But on the other hand, I can appreciate a little bubbly from time to time. So then is now and here is the curious case of Alain Clark. It’s neither what it looks like, or what it initially sounds like.

Alain was born June 4, 1979 in Haarlem—not Harlem, New York but Haarlem, The Netherlands. And he spent three years in Los Angeles trying to make it as a singer, even though as a toddler he told his mother (and she taped him saying) “I’m never going to be a singer, I don’t want to do that, I hate it!”
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Well, now he’s doing what he hated, big time. He’s recently released his third album, which looks like it going to be an even bigger hit than his previous album, Live It Out, which went double platinum and garnered numerous awards in The Netherlands plus had him touring internationally.

Before he became a star he was a successful songwriter and producer on the Dutch scene. You can hear his producing talents in the well produced record that sounds both relaxed and polished at the same time. As songwriter, Actually, in terms of songwriting, I’m more impressed with his melodies and song structures than with the lyrics, but then I have to remember that English is not his mother tongue; Dutch is—literally. His mother is Dutch, his father is black and he’s promoting a colorblind philosophy. In fact Colorblind is the title of his latest recording and while that makes sense logically, the in-your-face statement is a bit risky for a pop recording especially during these times of worldwide economic uncertainty and a rise in xenophobia.
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On the Mixtape we include selections from both his hit album and from the new release but we also throw in a segment of a live concert in Hamburg, Germany. As the live tracks demonstrate, Clark oozes sincerity and cuddlely, wholesome sexiness. Thus his songs like “Fell In Love,” are lovable even as he confesses to multiple lovers. The beautiful paradox is that he loved them all and he recognizes his own shortcomings in being a philanderer.

To me, and I mean this respectfully and not sarcastically, Clark’s music sounds like a cross between Motown and contemporary Country & Western. Wholesome, working class romance and positivity. Listen to “I Saw You Again,” it’s one of the happiest sad songs ever sung, but then again who has not had the experience of seeing an ex and feeling at least a twinge of missing, or regret, or something verging on recrudescence, like as if embers you thought were cold are about to spontaneously burst out in flames.
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One of Clark’s big songs “Father and Friend” is a straight up tug at the heart duet with his dad, Dane Clark. This is one love song that probably is going to profoundly touch men in a meaningful way. Dane is an engineer with a long-standing day job but Dane was also a vocalist in a Dutch soul covers band. How many of us men could sincerely sing such a duet with our pops?

In a nutshell, that’s both the beauty and strength of Alain Clark’s music: he’s singing about his life and he has had a good life. Or, as he aptly sums it up with respect to his songwriting:
Inspiration is mostly personal, especially on this record. When I try to write I write from my heart, from what I have experienced and that has to be from an emotion that I know. Fortunately, I do not know and haven't experienced every emotion. I don't know what it feels like to be real low down to the ground so that is why my songs at least have a happy vibe to them.
—Alain Clark
Many might argue that for most of us Alain’s life is not our reality, and while that may be true, what is equally true is that our lives would be much, much better if we could sing genuinely positive songs about our hood and our fathers.

—Kalamu ya Salaam

Alain Clark Mixtape Playlist

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Live It Out
01 “This Aint Gonna Work”
02 “Blow Me Away”
03 “Father and Friend”
04 “Fell In Love”
05 “Live It Out”
06 “Rain Will Fall”

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07 “Wonderful Day”
08 “Love Is Everywhere”
09 “Good Days”
10 “Too Soon To End” (feat. Diane Birch)
11 “Corner Of My Street”
12 “I Saw You Again”

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2009 Concert in Hamburg, Germany
13 Concert excerpt: “Live It Out,” “Father and Friend,” “Fell In Love”

This entry was posted on Monday, August 9th, 2010 at 11:28 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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