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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Full Moon 45 - 06/16/00

Anna K
Nebe
B & M Music

Suppose you start an alternate band in early 90's. You go to record in England and 6 successful releases later, you switch to a new, atmospheric synth-based style. You also write a couple of feature film soundtracks and start producing for other people. Then you team up with a guitar player and a lyricist and record the number one Czech hit of 1999. And who gets all the glory? The model on the album cover.

But to be fair to Lucie Krecarová aka Anna K, Nebe (Heaven) is already her third album. She is also the resident actor/singer in Semafor Theater. It's just that all the "Singer of the Year" and "Song of the Year" accolades really belong to the album's producer, Jan P. Muchow.

The title song features a bouncy groove and a terrific hook Tak nam vzali nebe (They took our heaven). "I thought the song was about a couple, but the lyricist Filip Horácek told me it's about Romany people (Gypsies) leaving their homeland," said Anna K in an interview. Whatever. The fact is Muchow provided all the rhythm tracks, most of the background sounds, and gave the song's a structure leading to the hook that sold it to the masses. The only other musical contribution came from the Anna K's boyfriend Tomas Vartecky, who wrote the music and plays all the guitars.

The second single, Nelítám nízko (I Don't Fly Low) features a cello, meaningless lyrics, and a vague resemblance to Bee Gees' Massachusetts. Still, it's Muchow's echo-y production that got Anna K the radio play. Nejsou a nebudou (They Don't and Won't Exist) is really a rhythmic chant by a choir which includes Jiri Hrdina. Yes, that Jiri Hrdina, the hockey player...

The other songs worth mentioning are Nashledanou (Good Bye), for its Dylanesque triple meter and the bonus track Vzacnej den (Precious Day). It was written by an American ex-pat settled in Prague, who wouldn't have made it anywhere else.

Nebe is nothing more than serviceable pop. While many realized it wasn't the singing that made this album, the songwriting is not as terrific as they claim. It's Jan P. Muchow, the unsung producer who deserves all the credit for the commercial success of this album.

Copyright © 2000 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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