The album starts off with Satie with the eponymous keys in the intro and the vocals that start as a whisper and slowly build out in the mysterious surroundings of this ambitious song. The slightly dark and melancholic sound is heard all through the song and it pretty much defines the song. Closing in on the 2m mark, the song gets a bit of a richer, fuller sound that leads back to the key & vocal duet near the end.
Opportunities is a song with class. The strumming guitar and the piano chords introduce one of the best tracks vocally on this album. The verses have a nice flow and the song has a certain catchiness to it even. The melody is so well-constructed you’ll hear it in your head for a pretty long time after you finish listening to the song.
The single candidate Onandon (interesting spelling), is one of the best tracks on this sophomore album. The drums and synth have an important role in this track as they basically carry the song and make it catchy. The soary vocals give a sense of emotion and (life) experience that is just right with this song. The synth loop is one of those tunes that you can’t get rid of, even if you’d want to.
Come Back To Me
Then Come Back To Me which is THE radio song on this album. The catchy, uptempo pop song that is proof that Michiel Flamman is one of the best songwriters in the Netherlands is also one of the best songs in the Solo-catalogue. I can’t wait to sing along to this one live.
Probably my least favorite song on the album. And even that one I’m still impressed with. Especially the balladry in the chorus is great. The song itself misses a little punch maybe, but on the other hand it would make beautiful film music.
The Vanity of Our Affairs
Apart from having an amazing title, this song is really good. The guitar loop is impossible to get out of your head after a couple of listens. And the spheric vocals and interesting background vocals present a playfulness lying underneath the super-skilled songwriting and musicianship portrayed in this song.
Over The Country
Over The Country is one of my personal favorites. At first I didn’t care for this song at all, but after I listened to it carefully I came to appreciate how good this song is. It’s catchy and a good sing-along to start with, but the song excells in many aspects. The dynamic interaction between the instrumentals and vocals (reminds me of ‘a balladeer’ by the way) is played out very well and the music speaks for itself.
On Too Much the synthy nature doesn’t really work, I think. The song isn’t bad, but where Solo usually is in complete balance and makes things work, because they all serve the song/music, I’m kind of missing just that in Too Much.
The soulful ballad Don’t Change is a little change of color for this band, but they do it well. The passionate performance is lifting this song to a remarkably high level. The arrangements in the song bring out the strongest sides of the band and emphasizes their musicality.
Wonderboy, Wiseman, Prophet
The intimate, little song Wonderboy, Wiseman, Prophet is something you don’t see often. It’s not something you’ll see spread commercially, but it’s such a delicate little singer/songwriter song, with fragile vocals and subtle acoustically accompanied by the instruments. Very impressive.
The album closer, Better Man, is a great end note to this impressive album. Michiel’s vocals are excellent and the song has a sound that is both intimate and rich. The build up of the song is great and the song is one of those songs that you learn to appreciate a little more each time you hear it. At first I didn’t care much for the synth lines in it, but later on I came to embrace even those.
In some aspects “Solopeople” is slightly different from “Songs n Sounds” but in no way is this album inferior to its predecessor. The well-crafted songs resonate in your head for days to come after you listened to them, and radio is bound to pick up on this band that keeps on growing. With gems like Onandon, Come Back To Me, Over The Country & Wonderboy.., Solo transcends the boundaries of time into the realm of timeless music.