Valentine - Bizarro World

Valentine Bizarro World cover
Bizarro World
Valentine Records
Robby Valentine is single handedly at least in my mind becoming one of the most important musical personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries and beyond. A charismatic pianist and multi-instrumentalist as well as gifted vocalist, Valentine has actually transcended and turned out into this quite unique artistic persona, through the ten albums that he has meticulously and systematically worked on through these years, without fail and never giving up.
While success beckoned early at his career, with top 5 hits and good album sales, the reality turned out to be quite starker, as the following albums didn’t quite match the success of the first few, resulting in him being dropped from his prestigious contract/label. However this didn’t stop the man from putting out more music throughout the years and daring to experiment with styles and forms within the boundaries that he felt his artistic vision made him feel comfortable to do so. The great thing is that while there are a ton of “Queen” influences, in Valentine’s influences, hell – I dare you to find me someone who uses so many harmonies in under 10 seconds (unless you think of some vocal ensemble you’ll probably fail), but you can also sense an amalgam of a lot of other great 80s pop groups in the band’s sound and there’s a strong sense of urgency and a bright spark of genius and originality that makes the result, very original. Apart from the obvious Queen basis and influence, which is just a building block, or maybe a blueprint, Valentine, just takes that direction and creates “Robby Valentine” music... and some of it is truly magical.
Interlude Bizarre” is a beautiful piano intro to “Bizarro World” following a semi-threatening vocoded message, from beyond… telling the listener that they’ll soon be lost, in this “experience”… if they don’t know where they are and why they are here.
Bizarro World” itself is an energetic little piece of pop rock majesty with a fantastic chorus, one of the best songs that Robby has written in years. A mini rock symphony in just a little over minutes, it encompasses what Robby’s music is all about in one very compact package. Fantastic song with a ton of harmonies, and a ton of pianos. Really it like someone took “Bohemian Rhapsody” and zipped it but managed to maintain its full potential! It’s one of Robby’s best tracks since, well forever! That’s how good it is! Also those of you familiar with Superman lore, might be able to figure out, what the song is about – more or less “it’s about a parallel world” where Bizarro is the “Negative” version of Superman and everything is upside down and in reverse… everything is Bizarre! So the song, pretty much, bases itself around that premise...
Rockstar” is funky and pumping, glamtastic, with an almost disco thump to it, it sounding almost like “poseur metal” on amphetamines with crazy harmonies and an over the top production. But it hits the nail in the head, about some people, acting too much like they are “too entitled”, because they are on the other side of the stage. Meeting Robby, he was not only a great performer on stage, but also a perfect gentleman and host, after a concert. Some people forget, that you are placed there by fans and by people and you need to show respect back to them. And thankfully, in many ways, Valentine – shows that back, multi-fold.
Before the title track’s memory has faded “You’re Tearing Me Down” manages to cause much bigger “damage”. A very delicate, melody and arrangement, this pop-ditto, to me this is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in 2014, period, easily making “Bizarro” one of the best albums on its strength alone. (But then again there are a lot of other great songs on it as well). In a “world” were people could give a shit about music, this would and should have topped the charts all around the world, yesterday!
Deadbeat Boy”… well, this is Valentine’s little “cabaret” number… and it’s dead funny… think of “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” by Queen and multiply the camp factor by 3 maybe?! But it’s also a bit more cool and unpredictable! Just great!
Schizophonicated” is a very interesting composition, more or less a fast tempo hard rocker, with lots of harmonies and Robby going for possibly some of the highest harmonies he can go for, with some really impressive results…
Trip to the Moon” is a bit more laid back, a pop disco number, that’s more laid-back and feels a bit like a daft punk leftover, or something from an 80s Dutch disco compilation. Nice pop-rock, with a touch of a disco groove. Not bad at all. Extra points for the smart and progressive “finish”.
Close the Door” is a power ballad. It starts slowly and it then powers up into a verse chorus of incredible sentiment. Another mega hit! Wowww!! This is where all the great songwriting has gone, into this album… when all other albums are bereft of good songs this guy here, has 2-3 of the better songs, you’re probably guaranteed to not hear this year, if your ears are “closed” in his album...
From Dusk Till Dawn” is a bit more peculiar and “groovy” a bit more club oriented... without being bad, it’s more difficult to get it, with its slightly bizarre rhythmical style.
Save Our Souls” is a lot more interesting, a rather soulful but also somehow “desperate” and claustrophobic at times sounding soft song that changes mood, at a whim, thus creating a quite interesting result with its contrast.
Black Rain” comes down in an almost cathartic way… beautiful and cleansing with its piano mimicking the fall of rain drops… just an amazing joyous song, a celebration of life and death and rebirth…
The Mistake” is the final song on the album and it’s a ballad, a bit of a ballad, about breaking up I suppose and it’s so sincere and soul-wrenching, that while I was listening to it I could not help but weep a little. Amazing stuff.
“Bizarro World” is another small artistic triumph for Robby Valentine. Where Queen stopped, people like Robbie and Vals, took the torch and if this is the result then I’m very happy, about some of the stuff w’re getting to experience, through them…
Am I normal or am I straight up Bizarr-O? Gosh, after listening to this damn thing a few too many times, I’m a m starting to feel, like I am more and more torn between Earth and Htrae...