Silvia Olari – “There is Something About You” (@silviaolari)

Silvia Olari – “There is Something About You” (@silviaolari)

Review : Silvia Olari “There Is Something About You” by Edmund Barker

To quote Paul McCartney, “you’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs, but I look
around and see it isn’t so.” The venerable tradition of the love song is one that transcends language and
culture, enduring in many different forms and genres. Silvia Olari’s new album is a testament to the
emotional power of the sort of silly love songs McCartney paid tribute to, and proof that adhering to an
old formula doesn’t automatically mean staleness. The Italian songstress had just put out the record
“There Is Something About You,” with ten songs showing the influence of both classic R&B and neo-soul acts like Alicia Keys. Produced by Bjorn Johansson, “There Is Something About You” is a sonically
delightful piece of music, touching on genres ranging from disco to ‘80s sophisti-pop. Olari brings to the
songs a wonderful genuineness and passion, selling every lyric about head-over-heels romance with
total conviction.

The record begins with a title track, which immediately envelops the listener in a warm blanket of retro
soul production—a pleasant mix of horns, strings, piano, and a soft bassline. Olari’s voice really carries
the song, switching from breathy coolness to diva-like intensity at a moment’s notice. “There Is
Something About You” is a classic old school love ballad, following a singer who’s at a loss for words with
a great romance. “The Reason”, another early track, is a similarly tender tune, which starts slow and
builds into a triumphant electric guitar bit. The next song after that, “Pure Joy”, is a change of pace and
probably my favorite track on the album. While I do like slow-paced R&B, a giddy disco-flavored dance tune is one of the easiest ways to get on my good side. “Pure Joy” is, well, pure joy, complemented by a hooky groove and the sense of majesty that the Studio 54 era brought. We’re talking kicky snare beats,
energized strings, touches of synth—the 70s aesthetic is worn through and through, and I couldn’t be
more here for it. It simultaneously brings to mind classic disco like Donna Summers and later revivers of
the style like Jamiroquai, while being just an excellent dance song. It also comes with perhaps my
favorite lyric on the record–“It’s a force to be reckoned with, a loyal friend at your side.” “A Woman In
Love”, which is not actually a Barbara Streisand cover, returns to the slow-paced R&B spirit of most of
the disc. It’s also a highlight song, showing Olari’s vocal range against a catchy horn accompaniment.
“Stars In The Sky”, coming after that, makes good use of the early 80s-esque synth on the album to have
a dreamy feel.

There are some parts on “There Is Something About You” that remind me of Sade, and I wouldn’t dare
to make that comparison lightly. The track “Give of Your Time” is an example of what I’m talking about,
with a mix of moody piano and upbeat groove that feels like the early ‘80s. But more importantly, Olari
has an irresistible sincerity and energy in her lyrics that makes me think of Sade, making it more than
worth a listen.

4/5 stars

Follow Silvia Olari on Twitter @silviaolari

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