Day 279: SebastiAn – Total

4 Dec


…but I won’t.

Yup, that’s a dude making out with himself.  In fact, that’s the man behind this record making out with himself.  SebastiAn has to do a lot of things (like throw a random uppercase letter in his moniker), to generate buzz, because his music sure isn’t going to do it for him.

This is another French electro-house artist (in the vein of Justice and Daft Punk) making music that just doesn’t live up to what  inspired it.  There are a few reasons for this failure that plenty of other critics have already touched on since Total’s release over the summer.  Some claim that this is a dying genre, one that peaked five years ago, and others say the songs on this record just don’t pack a punch.  While both of those criticisms have some merit, I feel that one important factor has been overlooked: SebastiAn does not know how to put an album together.

Why is Justice’s one of the most beloved electronic albums in recent history? It’s brilliant as a record.  It flows beautifully from start to finish, and every single song has a purpose.  Take out any single track, and would lose something huge.  With 22 tracks, SebastiAn’s Total goes way past the point of listenability.  The gems (and there are a few) lose all of their power because they’re buried under tracks like Motor, which samples an engine revving and switching gears for four minutes.

Fans may argue that Total isn’t meant to be listened to as a whole; that this is dance music, meant to be heard in a club in much smaller, non-consecutive chunks.  That’s fine, but then why even bother releasing it?

When the most exciting thing about a record is its cover, we’ve got issues. Total waste of time.


8 Responses to “Day 279: SebastiAn – Total”

  1. Dave Chops December 5, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Mr. Ear: How do I say this politely…. When you find yourself listening to third-rate French techno-house and to records made with the singer’s high school choral and game-controllers, it might be time to consider venturing further outside the confines of what you might have listened to in the past, chronologically, ethnically and geographically. You had heard a lot when you started. You have listened to much since then – this blog is a testament to that.

    Look back at top 20 lists from a few years back. How many of those records do you remember? Will anyone remember? Only a small portion of what is recorded attains any sort of greatness or anything beyond basic (and sometimes enthusiastic) competence. In your Built To Spill post you seemed to be recognizing this. Instead of listening to an album where the guy is frenching himself on the cover, perhaps it is time to look at your other options and go for something that has stood the test of time.

  2. Yuanny Dollar December 5, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I don’t see any tongue.

    • Dave Chops December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      (I will assume the role here of B. Frank): Whenever a Frenchman kisses it’s Frenching. That’s it. Tongue or no tongue, goddamnit.

  3. Yuanny Dollar December 6, 2011 at 1:02 am #

    Your B. Frank is dead on, but it raises a question. If what you say is true, then what do you call it when a French guy kisses himself and DOES use tongue?

    • Dave Chops December 6, 2011 at 1:56 am #

      (Re-assuming the role of B. Frank) You are American, why the hell do you care? Unless wearing those fancy lawyer suits has you thinking French, that is.

  4. Yuanny Dollar December 6, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Even fancy French lawyers wear Italian suits. Ciao.

    On a more substantive topic. Give Mr. Ear some more stuff to listen to. He probably will ignore you, but it is worth a try.

    • Dave Chops December 6, 2011 at 6:40 am #

      OK Ear-Man: I will keep it short because the days left are becoming few and you still have much to hear. Due to your oft-stated preference for short records, I have leaned in that direction:

      Randy Newman: Good Old Boys or Sail Away
      Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets
      John Prine: John Prine
      Iggy Pop: Lust for Life (nothing like The Stooges)
      Curtis Mayfield: Curtis
      Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso: Tropicalia 2
      Muddy Waters: Hard Again
      Steel Pulse: True Democracy
      Stevie Wonder: Fulfillngness’ First Finale
      Louis Armstrong: Hot Fives and Sevens, Vol. 3 (–sevens-vol-3-columbia-r134674)
      The Jazz Butcher: Cult of the Basement

      • Dave Chops December 23, 2011 at 4:42 am #

        Mr. Ear: You are confounding your critic(s) and have worked your way well down the list – so far without apparent ill effect. As we are getting down to the bottom of the list. i would like to add a few more worthy items for those days when you are looking for a suggestion:

        Ry Cooder: Paradise and Lunch
        Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Tropical Gangsters
        Toots and the Maytals: Funky Kingston
        Gonzales: Solo Piano
        Tommy Flanagan: Thelonica
        Professor Longhair: Live on the Queen Mary
        Roland Kirk: Volunteered Slavery
        John Cale: Fragments of a Rainy Season

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