All My Love Is For You

David Serero

Independent release, 2015

http://www.davidserero.com

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/04/2016

The first time I listened to the opening track on David Serero’s album All My Love Is For You, I broke out laughing. Then, after a while, I stopped laughing and started asking myself, “Why do I find this so ridiculous?” No other album made me do this all year.

It needs to be clearly established that Serero is a highly accomplished musician with a strong pedigree of formal training. His musical career began as a jazz pianist and arranger, having studied at both the American School of Modern Music and at the Bill Evans Piano Academy in Paris. He also studied his vocal technique mentors at both the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Rimsky-Korsakov Music Conservatory in Russia. He is actually well known for his work performing show tunes and opera. Born in Paris, he is a native francophone who is also fluent in Russian. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It turns out that his strong accent in his singing throws the whole album off for me. It seems so petty and trivial at first, to dismiss a work on these grounds, but there really isn’t an excuse. Foreign vocalists ranging from ABBA to the Scorpions all figured out how to dial down their accents when singing in English. My first impression when listening to it was that it was a Tony Clifton-style parody… but alas, it is not. It just seems improbable that someone with Serero’s résumé would release something like this.  

As it turns out, the problems extend beyond the accent. While his phrasing is perhaps well-suited for Broadway or the opera, I found it alien and awkward in this style that blends R&B, Broadway, and pop. Compared to others who perform in this style, like Brian Stokes Mitchell, they exhibit more nuance and control over their vocal phrasing in their delivery.

It does not help that there are some phrases that come across as awkward, like when it sounds like he sings “It makes me feeling good” in the song “Someone Makes You Come” (I wonder if he grasps how lewd that title sounds). The Barry White-style spoken-word section at the end of “I Think I’m Gonna Love You” comes across as downright laughable – it’s perhaps the worst misfire of its kind since Mick Jagger tried the same thing at the end of the song “Emotional Rescue.”

The album does have its merits, however. He does have a strong singing voice with considerable range. The songs have strong melodies, sophisticated arrangements, and sharp musical performances. Given that the album has been “entirely written, performed, arranged, and produced” by Serero himself, this is ultimately a mixed blessing. Perhaps it could have been rescued by a producer that could have spotted and ironed out the awkward edges and tweaked some of the lyrics. In the end, the accented singing and ham-fisted delivery on All My Love Is For You have the unfortunate effect of undercutting whatever smooth or sensual vibe he is going for, leaving him sounding like the “Wild and Crazy Guys” from Saturday Night Live.

He really should stick with opera.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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