I might have never heard of Axelle Red if I weren't
channel surfing one August night last year in the Sofitel Méditerranée in Cannes.
With my admittedly rudimentary skills in the French language, I was looking for
something, frankly, which I could understand.
That's when I stumbled upon
an hour long interview special with popular Belgian singer Axelle Red, which was
peppered liberally with clips from her music videos and live performances of
quirky English language covers like "Ode To Billie Joe" and "Car Wash."
Honestly, I didn't comprehend much of the interview, but I liked the music, so
the next night I picked up her first two albums, Sans Plus Attendre
(1993) and À Tâtons (1996) at the Virgin Megastore in Nice. In the
months since then, I have gotten all of Axelle Red's albums and become rather
obsessed with her music.
Alive, which was released in Europe in
2000, is about as good a career overview as you are going to get and a nice
introduction to the wide-ranging artistic palette of pop styles which Red has
This album covers the dance-pop beat of "À Tâtons" (Celine Dion
would kill for a pop hook this good), the gorgeous and timeless Burt Bacharach
tribute "Ce Matin," the stark, desolate moans of pain that are "Elle Danse Seule"
and "La Monde Tourne Mal," the discofied verve of "Ma Prière" and the funky
exuberance of "Sensualité." She also does a quite lovely English cover of
Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers' devotional classic "Just The Two Of Us."
Axelle Red has the
voice, the ability, the looks and the songwriting chops to become as big a
crossover star as Shakira in the United States. I hope she gets the
shot. In the meantime, I strongly suggest you explore this album and the
rest of her back catalogue. (3/03)