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Zap Mama - Supermoon

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Zap Mama - Supermoon

The Bottom Line

"I'm not a superstar and I don't want to be, because all the superstars look like each other. I prefer to be me. Unique. Like a moon - a 'Supermoon'," explains Marie Daulne, the driving force behind Zap Mama. However, every aspect of the album "Supermoon" would lead one to believe differently. From the over-the-top fashion spread that makes up the liner notes to the self-help manual that comprises the lyrics, there's very little here that hasn't been seen before. One can't argue, though, with Daulne's sultry vocals, the driving, danceable rhythms and the pleasant Africa-meets-Europop musical interplay.
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Pros

  • Chic and sultry vocals and rhythms.
  • Impressive lineup of guest musicians.
  • Nice balance of African rhythms and Western pop stylings.

Cons

  • "Inspirational" lyrics feel schmaltzy after a few listens.
  • Marie Daulne's attempts at musical intimacy come off as somewhat self-indulgent.

Description

  • Michael Franti, Meshell Ndegeocello and others make guest appearances.
  • Marie Daulne's vocal prowess is an impressive feature.
  • Excessively motivational lyrics can be vaguely annoying.

Guide Review - Zap Mama - Supermoon

"Zap Mama" is essentially Marie Daulne, a Belgian woman of Congolese descent, who has been a driving force in the modern world music scene for over 15 years. She blends African rhythms with European and American pop stylings, leading to a unique sound that's both accessible and fresh to both Western and African audiences, making her something of a superstar in both places. She rejects the term "superstar", though, preferring "supermoon" - a more unique individual.

Ironic, then, that Zap Mama's newest release, "Supermoon", feels somewhat contrived and formulaic. Daulne's attempts at making an intimate and engaged album fell short, and the album feels pretty much like generic Afropop - I feel like I've heard the whole thing before. Not helping the situation are the excessively feel-good lyrics (all penned by Daulne) that sound pretty nice at first, but after a couple of listens, take on a vaguely cheesy and preachy tone. She does, admittedly, have a true poet's sense of twists of phrase and metaphors, in English and French.

That's not to say that it's not a good, listenable album on some level - the beats are great, and some songs (particularly the acoustic-guitar driven title track) are melodically beautiful, and Daulne's dynamic vocals leave one wanting more. I just wish she wasn't singing in languages I speak.
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