David Serero – All My Love Is For You – Album Review
You wanna know something that makes it extremely difficult when trying to dissect a new album, style or sound to your ears? Reading something that in the band or artist in-questions profile or social media and finding out that they’re also a comedian part-time in their entertainment career…that’s what. I try, dear readers, I do my best to not be judgemental…I try to go into things with an open mind…but the very first thought I honestly had when taking a look at the album cover before even reading anything at all was that there HAS to be a comedic-aspect to what David’s doing. As far as covers I’ve ever seen go…this one looks more like a clothing advertisement in your mall-catalogue than it does like it’s about to lead you to music. And then there’s the issue of…well…David’s ummm…unique voice. Let’s just say – you’re not expecting it. That’s RIGHT…you’ve just read that sentence…and you THINK you can prepare yourself for what might be coming up next…and I’m telling you you’re still miles away from what you’ll get in return. Welcome to the world of Baritone Pop.
Now…just because it’s different or unexpected doesn’t make it bad – but to be truthful it’ll take at least a moment or two of scratching your head to figure out whether or not it all works. Serero’s voice is so incredibly deep and booming…that when the opening tune “You Are For Me” started up it sounded exactly like the singer from The Editors had decided to go into bright synth-pop instead of the dark, brooding atmospheres the music is usually leading him to. But…of course it’s not him…it’s Serero…who has in some ways essentially re-written “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston here through its vocal rhythms…just slightly different in the timing but drifting dangerously close at points. Of course…Houston was quite a distance from being associated with anything baritone…so again, imagine the shock when the music comes out closer to her sound & timeline…and then add that deep, bass-tone vocal-performance from David and you really do get a bizarre mix of music that seems to dive into opera-moments just as much as catchy hooks.
I’d be the last to infer someone is making a joke without 100% knowledge that this is the case…but I would honestly love to know just how seriously Serero is taking it all. There is no doubt in my mind that after hearing the title-track “All My Love Is For You” that David is in nothing less than a complete uphill battle here – there simply isn’t much this can be compared to…no placement for this on the radio or in mainstream…and overall just a hard-sell through the contrasting sounds of bright-pop & baritone vocal-rhythms. Nothing about what he’s doing here is going to be easy now, or really ever…this is niche for sure…and it’ll only take an instant or two for you to properly judge for yourself whether or not this might appeal to you. Those decisions will be made freakin’ quickly…there’s no messing around with the brain when it comes to something so starkly unique to it – the process of judgement happens nearly instantaneously…and you’ll either be in or out already by the time “All My Love Is For You” is done. Where it becomes questionable is the cruise-ship style opening…and in those first moments…I mean…the last thing we want to do is question what’s about to come at us; and while the words are inviting…I’m not all that sure that David isn’t the creepy uncle of yours at the party that stays too late. I’m still working on that… And that’s why I say I’d love to know how seriously he’s actually taking it all – I can’t imagine I’m bringing anything new to his table with my thoughts here; these are things he would have heard many times along the way and then continued to stay the course anyhow.
I should mention however…that I’m strangely on-board with a lot of what I do hear. I know that it seems like I’m poking fun at him at moments here…but truthfully it’s all much more reactionary than that…these are the questions, thoughts and musings that fly out of my brain onto the page, take’em or leave’em – that’s the way they’ve always been. In all honestly – the guy is actually a phenomenal, world-class singer…there’s no doubt about that whatsoever…just listen to “Someone Makes You Come” or really ANY tune off of this record and you’ll hear the skill. Everything on this All My Love Is For You is completely recorded, written, produced and performed by himself…which kind of makes you crack a smile knowing he’s on his own and having as much fun as the music of “Someone Makes You Come” suggests. There is certainly an enthusiasm that runs deep…and a confident approach that’s to be admired; in short – David’s doing everything RIGHT on his end – this is entirely a matter of personal taste and how your ears choose to take in and adapt to his style & sound. Whether he’s put that voice with music that will assist and help him succeed…that might also be another matter.
“The Greatest Of Your World” makes you realize he’d certainly have no problem dominating theatre-performances and opera-style songs at all…again, there’s a world-class approach with plenty of skill here…but even against this slow-jam it still sounds like a harsh contrast in musical ideologies and sounds at times. Lyrically…this is a pretty sweet love-song though…and you gotta give him that – each of these songs are certainly filled with powerfully-expressed emotions that come ringing through clearly. Even though I’m not a big believer in numbers of any kind – it’s definitely not just me that’s hearing his voice & words…each of these songs are passing or nearing the 50K mark on their play-counters…so to say there’s not a market or people willing to listen would be a false statement for sure. I still believe I’m right when I say this would be one hell of a challenge to market & promote…but obviously, not impossible.
The bass-led groove of “I Want Your Love With My Love” makes this tune worthwhile. Smart ideas and execution of the looseness in the backing-vocals…but with their addition, it allows Serero to roam around a little more in the lead. Hypnotic through its low-end music & vocal-groove…I’d almost be willing to bet that “I Want Your Love With My Love” took David no time to write at all – and I mean that in all the best of ways. It sounds like the kind of song that naturally just came out how it is…and then was built around the resulting melody & rhythms, most likely the vocal-flows. “I Want Your Love With My Love” becomes a more simple, subtle song in comparison to the rest somewhat…but an effective one for sure.
In contrast…I felt like “Make Me Believe In Love” was almost oversold to us through the performance. Definitely another catchy tune…still borrowing from mid-80’s-to-mid-90’s synth-pop rhythms…but in this tune there are a few missed moments tone-wise where our hero falls shortly of the mark; nothing epically tragic…but for what you know he’s capable of…I think David would want to go back and hit those couple of flat-spots into perfect shape with his extraordinary voice. As it stands, it’s like 99% of the way there to his own standard and style for delivery…but there’s 1% missing that we’ve yet to hear happen to him on any other tune so far. Maybe that’s me being picky…but maybe that’s the benefit of other sets of ears upon your music when you’re the only one in control of its creation. We all need feedback to grow & evolve…and many of us have the extreme benefit of others we trust in the room to tell us to get back into the studio when we haven’t quite hit it 100% of the way through. Everything’s been perfect so far on this record from a writing/recording/performance perspective…and I think the only reason we notice any flaws in “Make Me Believe In Love” is simply because there haven’t been any others up until those points.
Fun fact: 4/10 songs and of course the title of the album itself include the word ‘Love.’ So of course, David chose to write about a post-apocalyptic zombie-versus-vampire battle on “I Think I’m Gonna Love You My Dear.” Okokok…only ONE of those two sentences are completely true…
“I Think I’m Gonna Love You My Dear” certainly highlights the fact that David Serero is a lover, not a fighter. Smart synth in this tune replicates great saxophone sounds and the bass again stands out for its presence and real-punch in sound that it gives David’s music. Sweet words, sweet intentions…but yeah…even seven-songs into the album, I still find myself asking if this drastic contrast in sound between the baritone vocals of Serero and the music he makes will find the audience he’s seeking. That’s a tough, tough call to make…it’s just so vastly different than anything I’ve experienced as an idea. Like they say…I like sausages, I like vanilla ice-cream…and I’m not all that sure I want them both together… Serero gives another crack at the Barry White/Teddy Pendergrass deep-low ‘I love you girl’ speech-stuff at the end…this time around it felt like it fit the music more appropriately.
I don’t know if “More Than One Night” is the intended hit-single, or if it’s released separately…I just know it’s the only song you can’t download from the entire list of songs at Soundcloud. So…usually that’s an indication that there’s something different or special coming up…but to be truthful I wouldn’t consider this to be any better/worse than anything else I’ve heard from Serero so far. Once again, the bass is pure audio-joy…it is way, way high-up in this mix comparatively and really holds the entire rhythm of this minimalist-music as David croons his baritone love-song lyrics overtop. I’ll fully admit there seems to be a genuine sweetness to this song that I haven’t found in the others…a real authenticity to the conviction in the melody and the performance of it. Maybe that’s the reason for the extra layer of protection on it from the rest of the album…it’s hard to say…but yeah, there’s definitely an undeniable magic surrounding “More Than One Night” after all as far as I’m concerned.
“A Man Who Gave You All” will take David right down to the basement-notes of his baritone-register impressively. More of a light-jazz and soft-rock nature to this tune in its writing and structure – he’s definitely wandered slightly from a more comfortable form of writing and into more of an artistic composition here. Not quite so loose that it’s avant-garde by any stretch…but less reliant on a straight-ahead nature and structure than the rest for sure. “A Man Who Gave You All” has some excellent moments for David’s voice in it with some exceptional highlights on the entire happening here, but also a few more of the almost-theres that we haven’t heard since “Make Me Believe In Love.” The drums pop-out and flare wildly to bring around a real entertaining beat & rhythm that’s creative and constantly re-inventing itself while Serero sings along…right up to the very last seconds and notes in the fadeout.
Pendergrass/Vandross/White/Serero all pop-up to do their thing and appeal to the ladies in their down-low voice in these last two songs…and I don’t know…that’s such a commitment to a style of the past…I don’t honestly know that this is something that works in music anymore. I know the boy-bands do it…and I know it works on a handful of females & romantics out there still…but that can often add a somewhat cheesy-element to what might be otherwise a fine song without. It’s a fine-line to walk…and of course all those names listed aren’t really here on the record with Serero…but it’s definitely the route they walked and started many of us on in music back in the day…just again, not so sure that this still works in our present day & age. That being said…there’s much of a song still past that moment…one that’s full of bright rhythms, solid tones and great rubbery, rolling bass-lines that jam perfectly alongside the crisp percussion sounds and smooth vocal-hooks that David has created for his final tune “In My Life Without You.”
So there you have it…feels like I went on a little long, but if anything the reason for that is truly the attempt to try to grasp and explain something boldly unique into words. What David is doing here is well-executed, written & performed…and again, considering it’s ALL him…it’s quite impressive really. He’s bound to battle the people that don’t ‘get it’ for his career’s lifespan…but in essence, we all are somewhat I suppose. When you combine that with his fearless attempt to go against the grain of pretty much anything your ears would expect however…you gotta give him credit for potentially leading the way to an avenue full of new possibilities and combinations in sound for music…cause that could happen! You never truly know what will or won’t catch on by the masses in today’s world…and with the right approach and maybe a viral video or two…well…you just never know do you?
Find out more about David Serero at: www.davidserero.com
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!