Top critical review
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So, so far from Jarre's 'genius' best, but naggingly addicitive.
on 9 May 2007
I still consider myself a true fan of Jarre's, but I truly feel he has lost his way since Metamorphoses, and while this is a partial return to form, there is still a considerable distance to cover before Jarre wins my full respect in him as an artist.
I have to say that I find it incredible how many five star ratings there have been for this album - without wanting to sound harsh, that's just blinkered fan-boy optimism in my opinion. It's far too simplistic in its overall tone to be hailed as a work of genius, especially as it is rather lacking when it comes to the quality of compostition that I've come to expect of Jarre - this was my first real gripe with the album, and it still remains the case. He really could have done so much better - as it is the album feels like it was rushed, with very little care involved.
The same was true of 'Geometry Of Love' - a work of staggeringly cold banality. But at least 'Téo & Téa' has a spark of zest about it. But that alone does not a great album make - a truly great Jarre album has heart, and there is precious little of that in evidence here. Also, much of the instrumentation he has used sounds cheap and nasty, with out-of-place samples dotted about unnecessarily. Too many of the songs sound dreadfully sparse from a compositional point of view, something I am not particularly keen on. Minimalism is not what has been employed here, rather a lack of ideas or inspiration. At times the album is just plain ordinary, and calling it 'bland' would be doing it a kindness. But on occasions it does partly redeem itself - the title track and 'Vintage' for me are the two key standouts, and though fairly sparse in structure or depth, they do have a tremendous appeal. The title track alone is at least a return to Jarre's more energetic works of old, even if the melody is somewhat lacking. The same applies to 'Vintage', probably by far the best track on the album, and while it is yet another 'dance' influenced number, it posseses an aching beauty to its melodic core that I've not felt from Jarre's music since some of Metamorphoses' more haunting melodies. That said, this album is far from comparable to 'Meta' or indeed 'Zoolook' - now THERE was evidence of a true pioneering genius; 'Zoolook' is simply a standard of quality that this album couldn't even hope to attain.
Sounding oftentimes far too cheesy and out-dated, 'Téo & Téa' is probably the most difficult of Jarre's albums I've ever had to classify, insomuchas whether I like it, love it, hate it or merely tolerate it. But despite my initial misgivings regarding its cheap and tacky sheen, there has been something about the album that keeps me listening again and again at the moment.
'Like' almost seems a strong word to employ at present, but it has something I can't really put my finger on. 'Téo & Téa' isn't an awful album, it's merely an okay album, and I really do expect something more fulfilling from Jean-Michel Jarre next time. (...)