mr. a balladeer – Sorry, Kid
Marinus de Goederen, known as frontman of the band a balladeer, is a gifted songwriter and lyricist and is now releasing his first solo album under the moniker ‘mr. a balladeer‘. In some aspects the sound of the album “Sorry, Kid” doesn’t deviate too far from a balladeer’s general sound, but in other aspects this album sounds quite a bit different.
Every songwriter has a certain signature in his or her music and so does de Goederen. In that aspect you can definitely hear the connection with a balladeer’s music, but whereas the a balladeer albums have a distinct band sound, this album is really a singer/songwriter album. And a very good one I might add. As I said in my preliminary thoughts on this album, the arrangements, the vocals and the instrumental execution are all soaked in emotion and subtle feelings. And essentially, to me, that is exactly what music is about. The basis of music is emotion and to make that emotional and personal connection with your listeners, that is what a good musician does. And in singer/songwriter music, that is absolutely key for me.
Marinus de Goederen gets that and he does it in a way that is absolutely convincing. He does not compromise on the music, and in that he delivers an album that is complete and touching and insanely impressive. “Sorry, Kid” is one of my favorite releases of 2010 so far, if not my very favorite. It literally and metaphorically strikes a chord for me.
The album starts off with Mars, which has an amazing arrangement, listen to how the different instruments and parts of the songs fall into place and add to each other. The song is like a well-oiled machine, where the wheels grab into one another and it works magically. Add to that Marinus’ empathic and intriguing vocals and you have an album opener that is world class.
Why Hitler Loved His Dog is not only an intriguing song title, it’s an intriguing song alltogether. The arrangement is richer than on the opener, fuller and more present. But the impact of the song is no less. Lyrically this song is also very strong. See, a singer/songwriter can tell you a story or give you a reasoning, or let you in by ‘painting a picture with words’. And this is done incredibly well on Why Hitler Loved His Dog. Once again, pay attention to the subtleties in the song.
Marinus posted the next song on his site a little while ago and my first reaction was: very familiar, very pleasant. And I still feel that way. And you gotta love a pop musician who is not afraid to use a clarinet in the arrangement. (It helps I play the clarinet myself 😉 ). And you know what? I can actually imagine hearing this on the radio. It’s not particularly catchy or uptempo, but it has a nice round melody and some parts that just stick with you. And the sound of the song is very familiar. With that I don’t mean it sounds like a lot of other stuff, but it feels good, it feels like coming home to a familiar environment.
When A Law’s Been Broken is a grower for me. There’s just so much to hear on this track that it took me awhile to take it all in. I heard someone say that this track is what U2 would sound if that band were a singer/songwriter. I actually thought that was a rather clever comment. It has the epic feel of a U2 song and lyrically I can find some correlations too. But I was gravitating more towards Neil Young myself, combining different style influences into an epic song with a very rich and full arrangement with all kinds of subtle (as well as not so subtle) parts, going back and forth in intensity.
There’s a certain edge on What The World Needs Now Is A Killer Storm that reminds me of Leonard Cohen. And coming from me, that is one of the greatest compliments you can get as I consider Cohen as one of the best 5 songwriters in the history of modern music. De Goederen builds up this song to a very exciting climax after which the song slowly winds down. I’m still not quite sure how to describe this song, but think of it this way: The songwriting edginess of Leonard Cohen, the tension of Pink Floyd, combined in a musical package designed by the talent of Marinus de Goederen.
Noah is a song that portrays that storytelling talent again. With a growing intensity, de Goederen tells the story of Noah. I really enjoy the vocals on this song and the passionate way the song is sung/story is told. Marinus’ voice breaks every now and then but that just makes this song even better to me. And it has such a pretty piano melody.
One Sunday is just a very beautiful song. The scene that he’s describing is something you can easily imagine. And in its own way this song is actually somewhat catchy. To me, it is also the song that comes closest to an a balladeer song. The way that layers and instruments are added to the song at certain key parts is quite good but most of all it’s the vocals that lead you through.
Then the shortest song on the album, How I Hurt My Heels. It’s one of those songs that takes you away for nearly 2 minutes. I’m not sure what else to say about it. Just from the first to the last note I’m gone from the world, and then it slowly sets me down again.
From the shortest to the longest song on the album. More or Less The Sort of Shit Ex-Lovers Get Restraining Orders For is an impressive song. Lyrically it’s the strongest song on the album, and musically it is also very impressive. I particularly like how the drums are adding to the songs tightness and emphasize certain parts of the song. The acoustic guitar mixes very well with Marinus soothing vocals and the whole song is just very complete.
The official album closer is Eleven, and my oh my, what a gem. It might be the end of the record, but ‘mr. a balladeer’ knows how to leave on a high note. The beautiful piano ballad is played with so much feeling that it even got me somewhat emotional. Sometimes a song speaks to you, and if you don’t have a heart of stone, this song will speak to you. Sheer beauty.
An instrumental track is added as a bonus track. The Hidden Track has a very endearing arrangement and is a very suiting and soothing end to the record for me. It leaves me very satisfied when the last note fades away.
I could throw out some superlatives and talk about how much I like this album, but I think you should listen to it and decide for yourself. Marinus de Goederen (mr. a balladeer) is a very gifted songwriter, already well-received as frontman of a balladeer, but he now proves he can stand his ground as a solo singer/songwriter also. “Sorry, Kid” is an incredibly impressive debut album and one that will have a prominent place in my CD collection. Check out his website, listen to some of his songs, be convinced and purchase this excellent masterpiece. You won’t regret it.