NuLook’s “…Still News” review

After much anticipation, NuLook delivers to fans and critics alike. The Look remains the same except for the addition of Ralph Condé in the back cover. Arly, Gazzman, Fedler, Laporte, Alix Nozile, and Charnel remain the prominent “front” men, prompting many to wonder if Condé’s days are perceived “numbered” as he has amassed a “musician for hire” reputation lately.
NuLook quieted many with their freshman albulm “Big Mistake”, a reminder to those left behind in the now extinct “Dzine” that demoting Arly was their biggest MISTAKE ever. Time has vindicated Arly and those that soon followed him to NuLook. Will the critics be so kind to NuLook the second time around. Time, again, will tell as it has always done. Consequently, I had to take my time to listen to NuLook’s sophomore album to let it speak for itself. With time, will it merit being “…Still News”. Time will tell as it always has done!
In the meantime NuLook is “…still News” as the controversies continue to brew with one HMI personality so far claiming credit for penning lyrics without being given credit. Is he a parasite, does he have legitimate claims or is he a desperate soul trying to impress an ex-girlfriend, misleading her to believe that he penned “souvenir” for her.
A bigger controversy is the one that insiders are trying to fuel by pitting Gazzman against Arly. A cursory run through the album leaves many in search for a potential “HIT” from Gazzman as if his survival depended on it. I thought this was a team effort, but some are obviously keeping scores of “HITS” and so far Arly has netted 3 (“Why do you say you love me”, “Souvenir”, “Cookie”) while Gazzman registers nothing so far. May time prove to be kind to Gazzman as time always tell!

I know what you are probably wondering by now: what’s a review without a track by track synopsis. Here it is as it saliently unfolds:

PEDI CHELBE’W
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Gad jan’w Pedi Chelbe’w (look for that to displace “biznis Pa’m” as the slogan of the moment

It delves into the age old inquiry about life. And if you were looking to NuLook for an answer, “Pedi Shelbe’w” dares to offer an answer, albeit with an existentialist color. Whether you think life is complicated or a game, you are all correct tin your perception of life as it is your reality. So don’t sweat it or you risk “Pedi Chelbe’w”. In spite of social pressures, the formula to retaining your “Chelbè” is simple. Abide by the following principles and you’ll be fine:
• “folk ou fè yon jan pou ou pa bay menti” (try your best to speak the truth)
• “fo’w respekté sak pa pou ou” (no cheating, no stealing!)
• “pa jan’m pale bagay ou pa konen” ( leave the tripotaj to Teledjol!)
• “pa fe jalousie nan moman sa’a” ( this is my time, no player hating!)
Musically speaking, it is indistinguishably NuLook with a prominent Horn section throughout. They show a lot of confidence in Ralph Condé, he gets the guitar solo on the opening track and he makes a lasting impression.

WHY DO YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME?
Lead Vocal: Arly Lariviere
Hook: If you really love someone

A very seductive voice preambles the song with “this is sick”. Indeed, this Arly guy is sick with the creative bug. And he infects every woman within auditory distance. He is not helping the masculine cause at all. It started with “You and I” and you knew the purity of the emotions announced a romance with the fans with no end in sight. It wasn’t a romance that started with “a diner and a movie.” There was actual courtship ( a lost art!) with memorable rendez vous at “Avenue de la passion”. As with all relationship, troubles start to surface in “loving you”. But with “why do you say you love me?”, the plea is for forgiveness tainted with a little faith/trust. If he’s guilty , it’s a past that incessantly haunts him. With “why do you say you love me?”, it’s a past that will keep haunting him for decades to come. This guy is made with the same fabric that legends are woven with.
This guy rivals Alan in his sleep. If there’s one wholesome musician in the industry, it’s got to be Arly.

STE. CECILE
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Nou pa jan’m gen tan

This could have well been retitled “Nou pa jan’m gen tan” or “la vi mizisyen”. A musician’s life is one of sacrifices in spite of the perceived glamour. There’s no time for family, to spend holiday at home in the company of loved ones, not even Valentine’s Day. Small wonder Arly has to plea for understanding and forgiveness.
This is NuLook at its heaviest (konpa-a lou vré) juxtaposing Konpa with religious symbolism. Laporte’s guitar riff commands attention, the horn section delivers and it wouldn’t be fast tempo without the addition of Gazzman strength of vocal.
It’s been a while since a “saint” was paid tribute to in a song with a mainstream appeal. As with much in Haiti, religion’s influence can never be underestimated although the new generation has very much detached itself from it, safe for doing the yearly “chanpèt” tour. This is very reminiscent of System Band

GRAN DEPANSE
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Gran depanse ( will need help live…)

This could not be song by anyone else but Gazzman…Well maybe Kino. They both made a virtue out of bragging. This is a pompous song but it fails to be pretentious musically. I couldn’t even come up with a memorable “hook” from the song.
Just think of the elements that made “cesar” of “System Band” a hit. Most of those elements were lacking. Think of “Bisnis Pa’m” of Djakout. There’s a definite transition that get a roomful of people impatient, a transition whose delivery sends everyone into a frenzy. It there ever was an orgasm to be had during a dance it’s when “BIsnis Pa’m” transitions into Regi’s solo at the 5min00sec mark. And for those that love multiple orgasm the second one would be at the 5min50sec mark.
“Gran Dépansè” was almost monotone with an almost imperceptible transition from the intro to solo to chorus to finish line.

SOUVENIR
Lead Vocal: Arly
Hook: doesn’t need one

Makes you wonder which was written first: “why do you say you love me?” or “souvenir”. Is the woman in “why do you say you love me?” pissed off because he’s still immortalizing another in “souvenir”, hence finding substance to pester him about. Is he giving her reasons to doubt his motives, cause he has yet to let go of another and the “souvenir”. With this scenario there are 2 women involved, the past of “souvenir” and the present of “why do you say you love me?”
Or is it the case that she had stopped “loving” him and moved on, in which case it’s the same woman being mourned in “souvenir” and the one he pleads to in “why do you say you love me?”.
Either way, it’s good to know I have 2 a propos songs in my Konpa library to resort to, should I ever have a need…When poetry fails, Arly to the rescue!

YO
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Sé an lidé’w sa yé

It’s a remake that has been featured on a prior album. It has received a make-over but somehow I am not much into “manjé chofé”. Try as I did, I couldn’t get into it. I give NuLook credit for their attempt to highlight that the tribute to its loyal fan base was so important it needed to be reiterated into a studio album. It’s a tribute with a lot of energy.

YOUNG BLOOD
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Jèn yo santi…

This one is penned by Gazzman himself with no help from Arly Critics will be well advised to note that Gazzman is not illiterate and he can write. Ironically, this is NOT a “Gazzman” song. The melody is slow enough to afford you time to think as you listen. If you were wondering where the socially conscious artist had gone, this is a melodramatic reminder form Gazzman that the plight of Haiti’s youth bears heavy on his conscience. Here’s a call from him to us all to answer the call on behalf of the young ones to help them fulfill the promise of their potential whether it is to reach the height of doctors, lawyers, Pele, Micheal Jordan, Beyonce, Gazzman, Arly and even PIDOUS…(I couldn’t resist!)

COOKIE
Lead Vocal: Arly
Hook: it’s Arly, no need for hook but “Nan domi ou fè’m delala” is very catchy

I don’t know if the album was sequenced by design but this song is well placed to follow “Young Blood”, an appeal from Gazzman to nurture the youth’s future. And what’s more destructive than premature dissolution of a young girl’s innocence. Such is the subject of this song. This is an issue that has tacitly plagued the country, leaving teenage girls “ à fleur de l’ age” (at the tender prime of youth) prey to older men with means to “buy them off”, sometimes even with their parents consent.
“Cookie” is a forbidden fruit whose fortune is to be fortuitously loved by an older man who elects to suffer/love her from a distance and in silence less it would be “lanmou a contresens”( love that is counterintuitive/doesn’t stand the test of reason). What is love if it doesn’t inspire growth, if it extinguishes dreams and aspirations!
I suspect there will be more to come as he pledges to not give up…perhaps he’ll wait till she reaches the age of maturity.

MONTE MOUN
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook: Unsure

This is one of those senseless song that for whatever reason becomes a hit. I just don’t see myself calling out “cherie, vini’m monte’w” or “cherie an’n al fè yon ti lit sauvaj” as Gazzman entices.
Ladies if he ever refer to “IT” as “monté moun”, you’ll know to refer your gratitude to. can’t wait to see the video. Nulook might be onto something…

FANM IDEAL
Lead Vocal: Ralph Condé
Hook:

Ralph carries his signature wherever he goes. In Tabou it was the same thing. If you are listening to this track by itself with no prior knowledge of the source-album, you’d be hard pressed to know that it was NuLook, except for the reference to “NuLook wap fè News” at the 2min44sec mark.
The fan base that NuLook is trying to appeal to is steadfast in its support for T-vice, Carimi, Dega and the likes. So Ralph needs to go through the NuLook boot camp and earned his badge as a NuLook musician. When in NuLook, be NuLook!

Le COMPAS
Lead Vocal: Gazzman
Hook:
This track announces the coming of KonpaDirek’s 50th anniversary on July 26,2005. As the golden anniversary knocks, who’s there to answer the call? Gazzman didn’t miss a beat to reply and say: Nan moman’ an papa, nou mem NuLook nou pansé pou tout Djazz yo la wi”…
Can anyone guess how many “50th anniversary” festival there will be this summer? The winner must enter their answer by Jan 15th. Opa can you run the contest?

 

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