6 months ago I had no idea who this woman was. But I have to be completely honest with you that the only reason I got this album was because of the title, Dancing. I assumed, with the current techno and dance craze that I always seem to find myself in, that this was an album from a European DJ that I had just not heard from yet. I was sadly mistaken when I placed this in my CD player. (OK, you are right, I do not have a CD player. All my music is digital.)
When I began to listen I started my routine of research that I always do with artists. I learned quite a bit about her very quickly. She is Italian born and currently resides in Italy as well as having a home in L.A. She is most well known for her appearance at the closing Olympic ceremonies a few years back. She has also appeared on some national television spots and most recently released Dancing which according to her management will be the one thing she will do to push her to the top of the world charts. She has spend some time on the Billboard singles charts, but nothing with an album. Nothing yet anyway.
I have had the chance to create dialog with her and her management team. I am in the process of working out a way to get her to the city of Indianapolis and also working on some radio air time and promotional work for her album. Her management team is very nice to work with and is making the transition from fan to asset a smooth one. This just ads nothing but incredible forms of appreciation for her and her music.
But the fact she is a nice person does not have anything to do with why she has made her way to number 3 on my 2008 top albums list. She has deserved this spot from producing an incredible, well planned, thought out, produced and engineered album. The sounds that you hear from this album are not what you would expect from an album in my top 5 but I warned you before that I was going to throw a curve ball or two.
The first thing that I noticed about Elisa is that she is in fact European, but her album is entirely in English. That is rare, even to artists that have big American singles like Yael Naim and Kate Ryan. Both these artists have a mix of English and their perspective languages but nothing as smooth as Elisa.
Her voice is what this album was build around. Her songwriting is good, but nothing to write home about. She has an incredible sense and ability to pull you in before she is done with one sentence. I spoke about how David had the ability to throw a look around me and pull me to the stage with how his voice changes. Now, Elisa is doing the same thing. But she just has pure talent and vocals because she is not going through puberty what so ever.
There are a few other things that excite me about this album. She does not fall into the standard 3 minute song routine that every artist seems to. She moves tracks to 5 and 6 minutes but does not loose you. The songs have an incredible, near perfect sense of progression. Almost every single song starts out slow, soft, and intense on her in an almost speaking sense. But by the time the song is over you are doing just what she assumes you will be, dancing. Not club dancing, but ball room style. The kind of dancing that you have to take lessons for.
You get a couple of songs in before you start to realize that this album is not intended to make you roll the windows down and sing at the top of your lungs. She is speaking to you. She is giving the impression you are sitting in church and listening to the choir preach to you. But I can do nothing but go back to the way her voice just tackles you into submission. In the song Stranger her voice speaks simple and clean words but turns them into ring tone quality sounds.
The best song on the album by far is called Broken. It starts about as fast and hard as you are going to hear from her, too. I like to think of this song as a theme song for life. The lines “Broken, broken, like stolen, stolen, a gift it was stolen,” that carries on for a few more lines puts a chill down your back. Her voice changes pitch about six times in one paragraph of lyrics and she brings you back down. Then she comes right back with another set of those same lyrics. The song really does get better and better as you move along. But the way her voice, again, brings you into the track is what makes her album so sucessful.
A way that I can explain her genre, because its not pop, rock, or anything else you could mention here, is Shrek. There are those artists that you hear and just know that if they have not been on a Shrek soundtrack they will be before that series is over. And Elisa gets to the point where she stares Shrek right in the eyes when she covers Hallelujah from any given artist that claims they are the person who sang it. Jeff Buckley will be the one you are familiar with, however. She sounds better tan Buckley (OK, don’t hate me for that, but she does) and the way the organ in the background sets you up for an incredible finish you are just singing in your head, closing your eyes, and moving your foot back and forth.
Elisa is new to me. She might even be new to the industry as far as success is concerned. And she will I am sure be new to you. But what I can promise you is that she has a future. Her voice is something I expect to hear at the highest ranks. You will cringe when you hear her voice on some of these songs. And for the first album on the list the lyrics are not as important as everything else. She could sing about dying cows and make it sound passionate and make you feel almost invincible.
Go buy this album. Don’t even buy it for me and this list. Buy it because of her voice. Buy it because of her career and how you will be able to say, “Hey, I listened to her before she got big.” I feel that I have the ability to pick out an artist that has the talent to make it. And if David Cook can “make it” Elisa is a shoe in.