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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Top Marks for Tarkan

Posted by Steffan Matrak from Moscow, Russia

A storm of mega proportions has torn through the Turkish music industry with the return of the king of Turkish pop to reclaim his musical throne.

The general consensus is that Tarkan's first solo studio release in the Europop genre after a seven year hiatus has been worth the wait.

Exceeding all expectations, Tarkan's 2017 release 10 is not only the best Turkish pop album to be released this year, it's arguably one of the best pop albums ever to hit the shelves in world music.

With emotional ballads, bubbling dance tracks and ever-inventive arrangements, not one track in 10 feels like a filler and no filler misfires as the icon travels seamlessly from nudge-wink hedonism to purposeful pop.

Having had the opportunity to listen to the tracks pre-release, Tarkan Deluxe founder Ali Yildirim has described the album as a playlist of playlust, and a monument to the best of nineties pop in the release notes at sister site Tarkan Translations.

...the artist once again tweak[s] the formulas and motifs that have made him enduring: Old and new, East and West, body and soul marry as Turkish pop star royalty, with long-time producer Ozan Çolakoğlu, help Tarkan bring nineties pop nostalgia up to date. [His] apparent longing for the golden heydey of Turkish pop is felt by the triumphant trio of Ümit Sayın, who worked on Tarkan's 1994 studio album A-acayipsin, late nineties collaborator Murat Matthew Erdem and newbie Tarkan collab, 90s pop composer Serkan (İzzet) Özdoğan. Erdem's tag team with newcomer Ayça Z. Aydın (Miya) brings the much missed heydey of the 90s into the present."

Of the fiery 14 songs, Tarkan has sole credit on three singles, while penning another four collabs with Günay Çoban, Aysel Gürel and a share in the writing credits for the opening track with the album's producer and arranger Ozan Çolakoğlu.

Musical buddies Gülşah Tütüncü, Sezen Aksu and Nazan Öncel are the other names along for the ride. In a return to form, Aksu still has it in her, Öncel tugs at the heartstrings, and hearing new material from Gürel so long after her death brings out the goosebumps. The album packs an emotional punch as a senior showcase for the best of female pop talent: the cougars are in fine form.

Expect to see this album pop up on many music critics' best of lists in years to come. It's clear lessons were learned from last summer's controversial drop "Cuppa"; the underperformed Aksu track is conspicuously absent from the album, remaining as a buzz single for 10. But the negative reaction to last year's blip seems to have brought out the best in Tarkan.

The much loved Turkish star released a 25-second teaser a week ago to whet the appetite for his album, while a tracklist was revealed a day before the record's release. Details of the album quickly found its way on music sites, indicating a large group of music lovers eagerly waiting for the singer's latest musical update.

And as the reaction to his 2017 release shows, Tarkan continues to connect with a multinational and multicultural audience in the millions, from Europe to Asia to Australia and Latin America.

It's in part thanks to that uncanny ability to write and perform songs that seem to anticipate the mood of his fans, vast and diverse as they are, while at the same time staying true to his soulful Turkish roots.

Building upon a solid melodic line based on those roots, the king of pop's music draws upon influences ranging far and wide, from the timeless, hypnotic sounds of the East to the most up-to-the-moment cutting edge Western rock, pop and dance.

The one constant throughout his music - and his live performances - is a great rhythm. Tarkan weaves these diverse melodies and beats into a magical tapestry of sound that is truly all his own.

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