|Valentine The Most Beautiful Pain||Frontiers Records|
There are a lot of artists featured on this site that require an acquired taste to appreciate. This guy probably tops that list!|
Dutch rocker Robby Valentine is one of the more unique artists out there, even when his style clearly drawn from one clear influence – that of Freddy Mercury & Queen.
Yes, he is a bit nutty and no, not everyone is going to appreciate this record. Not by a long stretch.
For those that do 'get' Valentine and have followed his career – get ready for possibly his best record to date.
To add credence to this comment I'll say that I have not previously been convinced by any Valentine album, but dig this one.
This is hard to describe – the styles used within range from classic melodic rock to high-tech, effects filled modern rock to groove laden dance-pop through to nu-breed inspired rockers.
All the above feature big choruses, layers and layers of added instrumentation and of course Queen 'inspired' choruses and vocal acrobatics.
The Most Beautiful Pain is one of Valentine's heavier records to date with a greater emphasis placed on guitars and big choruses, while keyboards and symphonic passages are used as support rather than as key elements.
This is a dramatic melodic rock record with far more consistency than some of Valentine's more pomp filled exercises in overblown theatrics. There is a lot of music to digest with this album so I suggest 4 or 5 listens to really get a grasp on it.
The first half of the album is more melodic rock, while the second half is more pomp/piano orientated.
Highlights for me are the opening rocker with the Queen-esque falsetto chorus, which leads directly into the very similar second track; the pop/punk nu-breed of I'm Going Under; the pomp/pop perfection of One Of These Days, with it's Backstreet Boys style chorus hook and high-tech production; the 80s melodic rock of She; the pure 70s Queen pop of Magical Memories; and the orchestral ballad One Heart, which again tips the hat to the theatrics of Queen and Freddy Mercury.
Also watch for Supernova, which is so utterly bizarre (pomp/pop/prog/symphonic/70s glam) it defies explanation.
The last several tracks do perhaps see the album overstay its welcome a little. After all, 17 tracks is a lot of music in anyone's book. The power-pop/melodic rock of the first half of the album fades a little to allow Valentine to pretend he is Freddy Mercury circa 1975.
If I am honest I must admit that Valentine is utterly untouchable when it comes to crafting theatrical melodic rock into something palatable. Robby Valentine is indeed in a league of his own and this album contains some of his finest moments to date.
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