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Stella Soleil!
STELLA SOLEIL

 

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STELLA SOLEIL 
"Dirty Little Secret" REVIEW
by Billy Tweedie


-WOW. This CD totally blew me away. I have never heard a first album
from a newcomer sound so good. (Apart from Sianna Lyons' "Songland")
From the start to the finish, Stella will have you mesmerized. Her voice is
like nothing you have ever heard, but that is not a bad thing. It is a
GREAT thing. She manages, to keep her sound fresh and new sounding, but
without being repetitious or copying everything else you hear on the
radio. "Dirty Little Secret" is a CD that I listen to over
and over again. (Ask Mike, he is so sick of it, so he says, but he
enjoys it, I can tell! lol!!!) Each song is destined to catch your
attention, and in a really fun and fresh way. It's nice to hear sexy lyrics in pop
music that show maturity. Stella's influences are not only pop, but also
a little bit alternative and rock. Even with those other influences, it
still keeps a pop framework. It's just not the Britney, Mandy Moore, and
Jessica Simpson type pop. It's closer to Madonna: real POP music! While Stella
doesn't have a really strong voice, it adds to the sexy, fun feel. This
CD should definitely get a wide audience of listeners, unlike a lot of pop.
Stella, Thanks For Sharing Your Dirty Little Secret With Me!
Wow! If you're into Pop Alternative stuff, she's a great artist
to add to your rotation. Every day I try to listen to this CD front to back 
and by the time it's done, I'm exhausted. Why? Well, if I'm not dancing, I'm
singing, I'm moving, I'm thinking. I tried to let it be background music 
one time as I was doing some work and it just distracted me too much :).
Let me be the first to get on my hands and knees and praise you
for this beautiful and unusual work of pop. Gawd! I thought the days of
80's flavor of unusualness was gone. I thought that the only music
females were capable of producing in this century was the Madonna
clone-a-likes.
















I'd love to personally kiss Universal Records for putting this out. :)
I wondered to myself, why had I never heard of you before? I
mean, I pride myself on knowing a lot of who is out there. I watch MTV ;) 
I read a lot of music articles. After doing some heavy duty research I
found out lots of stuff about you. First, you're a Chicago native.
Second, this was your first solo effort and prior to that, you
were part of a collaborative, industrial sounding group called Sister
Soleil. I listened to some of those tracks and wow - they are really out
there. I see that you also sang back up for Ministry and Chemlab.
Third, your real name is Stella Katsoudas. What? Worried people
couldn't roll that off of the tip of their tongue?! Awww, it's okay :).
So here's the story - here's how I became a huge fan of this CD.
As I'm passing through aisles of music, your CD catches my eye.
What is Jerry Hall doing making a cd??? Upon closer contact with the
cover art, I noticed that you looked strikingly like the ex-Mrs. Jaggar.
Ewwww I thought. I turned around and walked further down the aisle. Something
pulled me back, don't ask me what. Intrique, stupidity something. 
I put on the headphones nearby and stuck the upc number under the player.
The first song to come on was "Kiss Kiss". I was taken aback by
the huge SWACK sound followed up closely by synthesizers that had a
Middle Eastern tempo they were chanting to. Your voice sounded like a
cross between Ani DiFranco and Liz Phair with a bit of Madonna's attitude.
Hmmmmm I thought. You had my attention. But hey, every one's first track 
can be good. I wasn't going to purchase this based upon one track. 
(It was later on that I found out that this was a remake of Simarik by 
Turkish artist Tarkan. In 1999, the song was a dance floor smash in Europe. 
I can see why.)  Next to come on was, "Pretty Young Thing". Here's a 
breezy pop tune with lots of wooshes, church bells and strings. Your voice 
waivers between a mature, sultry sound to a naive and vulnerable little girl
voice. Wow! The difference between the two songs was amazing. Both were good.
But hey, that's 2 out of 12. I had to listen to the third to be for
sure. The third single is a ballad called "You" and boy - it gave me
goose bumps. The guitar work at the beginning was simple and thoughtful.
Your voice added that hurt, vulnerable aspect to it. "You are always
there inside my mind. I'm so preoccupied sending love to you across the
sky. So I never seem to get things done. You're the only one. I worry
all the time, so I have to let you go."
























Alright, I'm hooked. Off I walk up to the casher, complete with
BIG BIG SMILE on my face!! "How many CDs have you bought in the past
year I can hear Mike say this???!!!" So I get it home and I'm not
prepared for the next surprise."Imperfect" had that combination Go-Go's/Tracy 
Ulman feeling to it. If John Hughes was still churning out his great films of the 
80's this, and some of your other songs, would make for great soundtrack additions. 
Of course, some of the lyrics are a little naughty but in this R rated world, it
shouldn't phase anyone. "And all that I want. Is a taste of the boy.
It's a simple thing. All that I want is a taste of the boy inside of
me........" If you say so! As I listen to the rest of the disc, I'm waiting for 
the letdown. Only guess what, it doesn't come! From the naughty, 
tongue-in-cheek, "Let's Just Go To Bed" to the yearn and angst filled, 
"Dance With Me" the songs are filled with intelligent lyrics, real life 
experiences, and pop hooks that stay playing in my psyche well after the 
CD player has shut off. Girl, this entire CD just took my breath away!
Now let me tell you a secret that isn't so dirty as it is sinful.
This will probably not be considered a commercial success. That is sad.
This is one of the best singer/songwriter CD's to come out in years. I
appreciated the fact that you collaborated with a variety of producers.
It didn't detract a bit. In fact, I think that it gave me a better picture
of you instead of the corporate American recording world. You were the single
thread through the entire cd. That's the way it should be. Too often,
artists stick with one producer (see Janet Jackson and her very boring vocals lately)
and soon, the music is more about the production than about the simple
stuff - the songwriting and the artist. I see that you toured with the
Go Go's and that you've made a video for "Kiss Kiss". I fear that I won't see you 
near any Pittsburgh location any time soon, but I live in hope! Again, heaps 
and loads of thanks for creating a near perfect work of pop music. Wow! Maybe 
female singer/songwriters in the pop arena (think Annie Lennox and Pat Benatar) 
are back in the game. 

SWACK! KISS KISS anytime!


©2002 BILLY TWEEDIE