Album review: Mademoiselle Yulia - Mademoworld

Mademoiselle Yulia - Mademoworld | Random J Pop

From "Gimme gimme" is was evident that Mademoiselle Yulia was going to bring the fun and the bad arsery. Strutting through a backstage area and f**king up bitches rehearsal routines with her titties and vagina strapped in leather studded straps and a green wig, she meant business. A single was one thing. Everybody in Japan has been granted a chance to release a single at some point. But an album came as a surprise. And given what we had known about Yulia prior to the release and what we'd seen and heard on "Gimme gimme", to say that Mademoworld is a complete shock and a 180 from everything you thought it'd be would be an understatement.

Mademoiselle Yulia's a funny one. She's styled hip-hop 'n pop, she spins the latest above and underground, but she comes from a punk rock background. Despite seeming like you know enough about her to second guess what an album from her would sound like, Yulia has managed to turn every bodies thoughts and expectations on their heads and deliver the type of album you would never have expected her to have released. And somehow manages to have you wonder how you ever thought she'd release anything but.

Mademoworld is an ode to the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. Four of the most poignant decades in music which are continually pulled from today, seeing as the 00's have failed to be defined by any particular type of sound or genre unto itself. Unless you want to count dubstep, which I refuse to. For each decade the album touches on Yulia plays the perfect chameleon, adapting her vocals, sass and style to each era and delivering at least one killer song per decade.

The album kicks of with "Gimme gimme" which manages to cram four decades worth of soundscapes into one song. 90's pop vocals, an 80's air of Blondie, the electric bass of the 70's and finger snapping doo wop of the 60's. It's the perfect song to start the album with as it sets the tone for everything which comes after. The song is hot, but it will end up being the song you play the least because Yulia gives you so much more from here on out and you realize that a bitch was being lazy on this song.

Yulia swings into the 60's with "Bam me". A song I can only ascertain is about sex. Starting with a Beach boys like chant before seguing into a swing style soiree, this song will make you want to do the twist on a bitch. Even if you're not into this type of music, you will sway and jig to this song because it's so infectious. "Zodiac gold" slinks into the darker side of the 60's, with demonic drums and a melancholic set of chords much akin to The Rolling stones' "Paint it black". "Down down" takes the dark thematics of "Zodiac gold" and spins it into a jazzy number which touches more on the 1940's. Yulia's smoky vocals glide over a backdrop of piano's, horn sections and strings to create an ambient piece you could just as easily sit in a jazz lounge and drink a Martini to as you could chicken noodle soup on a n***a.

"Midnight express" and "You can't have it that way" are dark slices of 80's electro-pop, with the latter ringing with the familiarity of The lowbrows "Fake emotion". Where-as "Woa" is a bright sugar coated jellybean of 80's electro and is the album's stand out track. Yulia sounds so much like Gwen Stefani on the verses of this song its almost scary. Produced by those crazed hoes Trippple Nippples and co-written by Minami of Cream, the song is perfection; featuring the electric trio's signature stamp of infectious synths and Minami's knack for penning catchy choruses which stick like super glue. EMI lost out by not pushing for this to be a single as it's an amazing track and the one I feel really captures Yulia's essence and resonance alongside "Gimme gimme". Verbal even makes an appearance as a guest feature and delivers one of his strongest raps in a good while.

Yulia steps into the 90's with "Replay". With Verbal's new right hand man John Fontein on production duties, the production is slick and the melodies are catchy. "Don't stop the music" carries the 90's torch by stepping things up a few BPM's and giving us a full on revival of a 90's club jam. "Replay" is the catchier and more convivial of the two songs, but "Don't stop the music" is the most club ready and the one you'll gravitate to if you like your beats a little dark and to knock hard.

Everything on this album goes so well until "Chronic" comes along. It grinds the album to an halt and unravels everything Yulia had wrapped up so well up until this point. The song is a f**king mess. I don't get why you would slot some random ass, outdated, genre-less, dead sounding ballad amongst an album of up-tempo p***y workouts. Yulia also tries her damnest to sing and push dem vocals, but she ends up hitting a bunch of notes which could not be any flatter if 2012 Christina Aguilera sat on them.

Let's get one thing straight. Yulia is no singer. And whilst I commend her for the following statement:
"It's not a club record. I've always liked bands with strong singers, from Madonna to Queen, so my album is all about the vocals."
Mademoworld is most certainly not all about the vocals. Yulia's vocals are limited, but they get the job done. Yulia's vocals shine brightest on the 80's sounding records. Her husk and occasional shrill when going for the higher notes is so 80's that it just adds a level of authenticity to the songs and really makes them pop. These are also the songs where Yulia's vocals sound the most distinct and come to the forefront. Where-as on the more 90's tinged records she could pass as Iconiq or any other random chick who managed to catch a deal at Avex. Credit to Yulia where it's due. At a time when most artists who can sing are being auto-tuned and vocoded within an inch of their wigs, and DJ's and socialites who put out albums are refusing to sing without some form of post vocal effect; Yulia manages to go a whole album with minimal vocal manipulation. Only on a couple of songs does the auto-tuning rear its head, and even on these occasions its minimal and more for the sake of the sound of the song than to try and make her vocals sound better. For this, Yulia deserves a medal or a life time supply of free tie dyed wigs.

Mademoworld is nothing like I expected it to be, in the best possible way. Every idea you had had about what this album would sound like based on what you knew or had seen of Yulia is dashed from the second track of the album kicks in. The Western release which could act as the nearest comparison would be Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Only much more cohesive and from a woman who is Japanese fashion and not hopelessly in love with it from afar. Yulia runs head first through 60's lounge jazz, 70's funk, 80's electro pop, 90's dance, even snatches a wig from the 40's and barely even wavers. Well...there is "Chronic". But I'm willing to kick that shit under into a manhole a for the sake of what is otherwise a solid album.

Verbal took his executive producer role extremely seriously on Mademoworld and you can hear it was a complete labour of love. Verbal put more refinement and focus into this album than his own solo effort and M-Flo's last pile of trash Square one. What we have is an extremely polished debut from the most unlikely socialite in J-music you'd ever expect to release an album. Much less an album which sounds like this. My only gripe with this album is that I wish Yulia came through on the songs more. She hits all the right marks and rides every beat with ease. But Yulia seems so focused on trying to sing and stay in key, that she never really lets go. On the 80's jams, she soars. On the others, she seems restrained and almost retreated. Perhaps it's telling as to what she feels most comfortable singing. Only she herself knows.

Mademoworld is a delicious slice of pop. Brilliantly produced. Nicely varied and familiar.



Album highlights
■ Gimme gimme
■ Luxury of you
■ Wao ★ J's fave
■ Down down
■ Zodiac gold
■ Replay
■ You can't have me that way
■ Midnight express
■ Don't stop the music

4 comments:

  1. 6 1/2? This album is at least an 8 or 9.

    Girl better not pretend this album is about vocals though; she has a very Ami Suzuki voice. She can stay in tune most of the time, but that's as far as the vocals go.

    Midnight Express and Replay were bleh; but the rest of the songs have their own catchy aspect about them. It doesn't feel like 85% of the songs are filler like other electronic influenced albums do.

    Basically this album is what I wish Nakata would have done with Ami and Supreme Show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh shit! I copy and pasted the score from another review and forgot to change it.

      Hold up...

      *changes score TO DA REAL SCORE!*

      Delete
  2. You FINALLY reviewed it!!!!!!! I was waiting for a review. I was beginning to think you thought the album didn't live up to the insanely catchy Gimme Gimme. This album definitely surprised me; I went into it not expecting much, but it was really good. She flopped horribly though, so this is problem a one album deal for her, which is unfortunate.

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  3. I friggin' loved this album and hands down WAO is the shit! Best song on this LP.

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