By Your Side – A Blast from the Past

Megan+Swindle%2C+a+student+at+Hall+high%2C+listens+to+By+Your+Side+as+she+works.
Megan Swindle, a student at Hall high, listens to By Your Side as she works.

Megan Swindle, a student at Hall high, listens to By Your Side as she works.

Megan Swindle, a student at Hall high, listens to By Your Side as she works.

Jack Hosey

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Thibaut Berland (better known by his stage name, breakbot) burst onto the scene in the late 2000s with his remixes of popular dance music. His first full length album, By Your Side is, in the purest sense of the phrase, a blast from the past. A blend of influences from the funk and disco gods come together to create an undeniably fun and catchy album: one of the few I listen from front to back on a regular basis. Some criticize the album for its lack of depth, but it instantly won me over with its back-to-back bangers. It may not be ‘thinking man’s music,’ but it’s such a fun listen, that I don’t care.

Below, I’ll take you through the album track by track, telling you what I like and what I don’t. You can follow along here.

 

  1. Break of Dawn – 9:  Fitting intro track that tells the listener what to expect out of the album. Filled to the brim with classic funk guitar, groovy bass, string stabs, and sparkly synths.
  2. Fantasy – 8:  Interesting track. Thibaut samples himself throughout the track for a very french house feel but without sampling anyone else. Ruckazoid’s michael jackson-esque vocals suit the track well.
  3. One Out of Two – 9.5: Very funky. Nice piano track with a great, warm cp-70 sound. Fun lyrics. Builds into an excellent chorus, and nice guitar solo at the end.
  4. By Your Side Pt.1 – 7: Obviously cut from By Your Side Pt.2 to make a radio-worthy single, but still a good track despite its short length. Very nice vocal harmonies and bass line.
  5. By Your Side Pt.2 – 6: Funkiest track on the album. Strong bassline, but that’s about all it has going for it. The chorus and verse don’t mesh well, and it doesn’t build to much. A let down for the album’s namesake.
  6. You Should Know – 9: Once again, Ruckazoid showcases his Michael Jackson impression. Very catchy melody outshines the VERY cheesy lyrics. Bassline is incredible with the classic Voyager sound.
  7. The Mayfly and the Light – 9: Change of pace from what we have heard. Slow opening which leads into an excellent hook. Very interesting chorus. Some mixing problems which takes me out of the track a little, but not a big deal.
  8. Programme – 6.5: Instrumental. Opens with bass line and an airy 80s synth track. Quickly breaks into a groove with electric guitar and piano. Doesn’t build to much other than an okay guitar solo, however still a fun track.
  9. Easy Fraction – 8: Another instrumental, but this one is done much better than the first. Built around a sample of Friendly Persuasion by Gladys Knight & the Pips. Masterful use of the sample, but this is a short one, only a minute long, so there isn’t much time to appreciate it.
  10. Baby I’m Yours – 10: The most popular song from the album. And for good reason. Very catchy, great vocals, everything is top notch.
  11. Another Dawn – 5:Another slow track. Not very memorable. Low point of the album.
  12. Why – 9: Awesome synth bass. Yet again, Michael Jackson appears on this track. Super catchy chorus. Breaks into a dreamy vocoder bridge which meshes very nicely with rest of the song.
  13. A Mile Away – 10: This track is GROOVY. Great change of pace from the album thus far. The hook is simply delicious. My favorite track on the album
  14. Intersection – 6: Another instrumental. Nice sound, but nothing too special. Almost seems like a filler track.
  15. Shades Of Black – 7: The penultimate track. Fitting for it’s spot in the album. Thibaut uses his technique of self sampling to great effect in this track to create a nice groove.
  16. Make You Mine – 9.5: Reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Something about us. The vocoded vocals, punchy bass, and funky guitar riff bring you right back to the golden era of french house. Possibly the catchiest chorus on the album. It’s impossible not to sing the hook, “Don’t wanna be without you baby.” Great final track.

 

Average score – 8/10

 

Despite a few low points, this album comes in at a solid 8/10. Carried by it’s funky bass lines, catchy lyrics, and vintage charm, By Your Side is a great listen when you’re in the mood to move. I would recommend this album to anyone who’s into funk, disco, or French House.

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