One day in early December, a friend messaged me on FB with a mysterious declaration that he had found a song that would have been the song of the year if JT had released it, it was that good but also that unknown. Intrigued, I scrolled through the message to see that “Play By Play” was the song he was referring to, the lead single off of Anxiety. I chuckled, but then I thought about it realizing his statement might not be as amusing as I first thought. When I re-listened to the album with that thought in mind: that it was as catchy and sexy as JT, I started to have a newfound appreciation for what Autre Ne Veut is doing.
His overly dramatic singing and so over the top emotional wailing at first appears too theatrical to really be taken too seriously. I personally enjoyed the warbling vocals and grandiose production that made every note sound like the world would end within the next second, but really, comparing his music to what JT can and is doing seemed a stretch. After some serious self evaluation of both albums, both kind of have that almost too sweet feel to their music, with an incredible amount of major chords and high pitched vocals that are sugary and sexy and powerful all at the same time. The strain on Autre Ne Veut’s voice alone makes it obvious his work deserves more respect than that first listen allows, because the man is working too hard not to be recognized. As vivid as his music is, his power is undeniable and his lack of fear of never ever being over the top becomes more apparent the more listens in. It does not matter if it is the first notes of the album or the last track; he never shies away from trying to destroy his vocal chords by singing as loudly and high as possible. That hard working attitude takes time to shine through the elaborate singing, but when it does that comparison to JT makes a little more sense.
Musically the drum machine beats and keyboard driven melodies help the lavish feel with the way they are cranked to full volume and are usually very in your face with the staccato rhythms. The whole album is basically made with a computer so when I saw him live, he had nothing on stage except a microphone which I think only added to the drama he was looking to create. I still remember his straining vocal chords and neck veins bulging and those images mixed with the sultry and potent voice make for some seriously JT like and enjoyment music.