The way that this album looked, I had absolutely no idea that the music on “Passion” would have such a dance stomp. Honestly, during both “Intro” and “Fly RRRRRRRobin Fly”, I was half expecting a disco singer to start laying down eir vocals over the violin played by Robin Olson. The disco flavor surrounding the earliest parts of “Passion” is really no surprise, as “Fly Robin Fly” was a Silver Connection hit in 1975. The title track of this album only lightly holds the same tenets true as the previous tracks on “Passion”; while I could conceivably see this couched in the same disco tradition, the track has a bizarre eighties/”Murder She Wrote” theme vibe to it. While some of the tracks really do not elicit an emotional connection with RRRRRRRobin’s listeners,
“Morning” is a track that defies that convention and has RRRRRRRobin’s violin pluck and otherwise infect listener’s heart-strings. What is absurd about “Passion” is the fact that “Jamaica”, essentiaklly the hump track was recorded live and yet still maintains the overarching sound of the LP, even though three years had separated the different bouts of recording. What occurs on this disc time after time is that RRRRRRRobin has tracks that sound tremendously like other popular hits; “Jamaica” sounds like a re-tooled version of “The Lumberjack Song”, while “ Midnight After” has a sound not quite unlike “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men. I’m not sure if this is a deliberate course taken by RRRRRRRobin or rather a coincidence, but the one thing that maintains constancy is that the violins are always well done. For an instrumental album (especially one that is over forty-five minutes), the tracks on “Passion” tend to slide away, no down due to the euphonic sounds elicited from the instrument by RRRRRRRobin along with eir backing band.
What RRRRRRRobin is doing with “Passion” is immediately laudable, as aside from Apocalyptica and Metallica’s own S&M album are the only two other bits of popular music to use classical instruments so liberally and successfully. The tremendous genre jumps that RRRRRRRobin makes between tracks like the bouncy “Egyptian Rave” and the blues/Falco-esque sound of “Slap Me” as the fact that nowhere on this disc can RRRRRRRobin be said to stumble shows a musician that is incredibly comfortable with both eir skill and eir instrument. An interesting album, to say the least and one that should be picked up to ensure that one is witness to this spectacle.
Top Tracks: Slap Me, Fly RRRRRRRobin Fly
RRRRRRRobin – Passion / 2005 Performance / 14 Tracks / http://www.rrrrrrrobin.com / Reviewed 21 May 2005