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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Metamorfoz: A Music Review

Tarkan's Metamorfoz

Metamorfoz (25 Dec, 2007)
Turkish pop, rock, dance
four star rating

A two-man production, Tarkan's domestic release, Metamorfoz, is what Turkish pop music should sound like in 2008. While Tarkan pays homage to his roots with lyrical twists on traditional sayings, career-long buddy music engineer Ozan Çolakoğlu picks up on musical mainstream trends - particularly those spearheaded by American artists - to take it one step further, making for a very good modern Turkish album that will age as slowly as Tarkan seems to do. With the two men left to their own devices, and contrary to the woman's touch of previous works, ironically one of the keys to its success is that Tarkan is never overtly sexed up. Instead in this album we have Tarkan as a regular man (rather than a sex object) with human concerns, including current political events ("Hop Hop"), facing off to petty jealousies ("Dedikodu"), reminiscing on lost youth ("Pare Pare"), fearing loneliness ("Istanbul Ağliyor") and thanking the woman that has stood by him through it all ("Gün Gibi"). This all helps it sound a bit more natural and, having weaned himself off the creative milk of motherly mentors in terms of song writing, that Tarkan is his own man. It could also be one of the reasons why musically, apart from four thoughtful interludes, Metamorfoz refuses to let go of its dance momentum; virtually every song demands to be played at maximum volume and tempo.

As a whole Metamorfoz has a distinct charisma, resulting in a captivating listen, but the tracks are still undoubtedly helmed by the trappings of youth, bearing trademark beats and guitars, and softly spoken doubled up interjections. While some songs shine brighter than others, there is no dullness here. It is oddly refreshing, and the whole thing clocks in at a breezy 42 minutes, which helps keep things light and engaging rather than exhaustive and wearisome. Like the best albums do, it sounds right in its moment and before its time simultaneously, which means it's about as good as this kind of music can get. After six studio albums, Metamorfoz isn't a record to change the world, but one that signals great changes in Tarkan's own world in his desire to come to maturity. If we believe the critics pre-release, this should have been the album where Tarkan either wore his formula down to nothing or abruptly turned in a different direction, but instead he created an album that promises greater works to come, by showing the ability to mature in all the ways he can without losing what makes him unique.

Ali Yildirim

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