When you prepare a coffee, you do follow the exact combination to have the same coffee every morning. You follow a formula to get a certain result every time you try. And although sometimes the same coffee every day tires and, it seems something different, it is not wrong to use exact recipes when it comes to the palate. But in art is different and, above all, when your origins and influences have nothing to do with places, styles and ways of conceiving the different currents that give identity to entire regions; it takes much more than putting everything in a cup and mix, the results can be disastrous and end with reputations and even careers. The album, What Is Love? by Clean Bandit aims to be universal and wants to reach a very broad audience by trying to speak in the musical language of other cultures, when in fact that audience was already there and understood the British band very well. I do not think there is a need to change if we do not advance or enrich some genre or style. Rather it seems that the guys who were once the sensation of breaking into an unusual proposal among electropop lovers when introducing that baroque style and the classic touches that characterized them, went the easiest way and the results are at the sight and everyone's ears. Decadent, predictable, without energy and with songs that perhaps their most loyal public, did not ask. It's coffee without caffeine, lactose-free milk, a record that they will want to forget soon and get to work with greater seriousness, sincerity and without falling into the commercial pressures that the record labels usually exert on all the artists who obtain a success as great as Clean Bandit. It is not a disk to erase and not to listen again since there are two or three songs that can be rescued and the quality of sound and recording with which it was made is typical of the artists who have budget.
I imagine all the people involved in the project of this album sitting in a boardroom in front of a blackboard writing a list of what they believe are the problems or situations that youth is going through right now and thus established the line of letters that they were going to write, wrong. In another list, they enumerated the rhythms and styles that have been massive success in the last two years and so decided the musical style of the disc, very bad. To show what I'm saying is the song: "Baby” features by Marina And The Diamonds y Luis Fonsi. I guess the dynamic was the following: “Lirics” checked, “Rithm” checked, “Singers” checked… Ready! We'll have a hit! Well, no, I'm sure that whoever does not want to participate in a formula project like this will be Luis Fonsi, who came to get what he probably never imagined with his song "Despacito", which became a global phenomenon without intending to. And that is what the composition is about, let creativity come when you have to; be honest, respect your roots and influences and from there to explore new things. Clean Bandit tried the opposite and the ridiculous was epic. Bad luck for the winner of X Factor UK 2015, Louisa Johnson, not because the theme she plays on this album is as bad as the others; in fact, it is one of the two or three issues to be rescued, but because for those who start a career as difficult as this is not good to relate it to a disk destined to failure. Her interpretative quality and the success that Clean Bandit had in sticking to its classic style, saved the song, with details on the melody that reminds me of Gloria Gaynor and the desire that Louisa Johnson has to transcend, the song, "Tears" may be the most satisfying of the band and its main interpreter on this album. Although with a video for oblivion, full of very visible resources and decadent visual messages, let's make an effort to listen to it.
Always is good to stop along the way and reflect where we want to go and where we are going in reality. When success surprises you, as it surprised the British Clean Bandit, there is nothing better to get away from the business mindset, that corrupts everything, and remain true to your artistic instinct which was what led you to achieve commercial success. They are not the first and will not be the last to go through experiences as bitter as these, but the important thing is to overcome it soon. Their nature is to make fun the nights when friends go out to dance, then the question is simple: What do you need to dance? And the answer is even simpler: rescuing the essence of Clean Bandit. I clarify that I'm not talking about formulas because that's what I criticize this album, I'm talking about sticking to your musical training and let the creativity take you to those places where you are an expert and you have given so much satisfaction to your fans. Neither is it about not changing or not experimenting with other musical genres, but to do so you must surround those who know and not try to make a copy that will not be interpreted with feeling because those roots are unknown, it will be impossible that someone else perceive the feeling. Not to stay with that bad impression that the album What Is Love? provokes, let's listen to the other song that I think has to be rescued also this Is "Should've Known Better" in which Anne-Marie collaborated. With a sweet voice and an excellent interpretative technique, the song has a very good rhythmic section an arrangement in the choruses that the truth is to envy anyone. What I've tried to say in all this narrative, is that it is not to panic, I'm sure that Clean Bandit will learn quickly from their mistakes, correct the course and surprise us again with a good album.