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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Full Moon 31 - 04/30/99
Lucie Bílá
Hvezdy jako hvezdy
Monitor-EMI Records

News from Prague: The reigning diva of Czech pop produces an utterly useless release!

Not much has changed since her 1997 release Missariel. Once again producer Ondrej Soukup (this time totally) misaligned Bílá's over-the-top vocal delivery with cold and unemotional accompaniment and once again the lyricist Gabriela Osvaldová managed to come up with some pretty embarrassing lyrics. So where did they get all the music? From the BeeGees, Neil Sedaka  and Roy Orbison among others - in other words, it's all proven stuff that has already made money in the past, except then it was for somebody else.

Thus we get Pískovec, a remake of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, which was originally written in the 50's, popularized by Dusty Springfield in the 60's and ruined by Elvis in the 70's. Ms. Bílá gets through it by sighing, screaming, screeching and breathing heavily while accompanied by musicians sounding so mechanical that in comparison my refrigerator manages to project more emotions.

In Release Me translated as Trouba (A Baking Oven), it's the lyricist's turn to embarrass herself. Here she's provided the short monosyllabic Czech word plyn (gas) to extend over a whole note - an equivalent of trying to sing the word "up" instead of "please" in the line "Please, Release Me, Let Me Go." And the rest of this hook is just as stupid (Plyn uz sycí z trouby ven - "gas is escaping from the baking oven"), which the mixed vocal ensemble makes sound like a Saturday Night Live parody.

The honor of the dumbest line however goes to Tichy dést' (originally Rhythm of the Rain by Gary Lewis & the Playboys), sang softly over  a tingling celeste:
Chci ti ríkat slova co te potesí I want to tell you words that will please you
i kdyz vonís jako mokrej pes even if you smell like a wet dog

(By the way, the album's title comes from the remake of The Mamas & The Papas' hit Dream a Little Dream. The complete line goes Hvezdy jako hvezdy svítí, which translates as "Stars shine like stars". Pretty heady stuff, isn't it?)

The whole ordeal lasts barely 34 minutes. This would be good news - unless of course you happen to be some adoring fan who had to shell out 434 Czech Crowns out of his or her own allowance. Hvezdy jako hvezdy struck me as incredibly arrogant and cynical. All I can say is I hope Lucie Bílá & Company didn't 'forget' to pay royalties to the copyright owners of the original music.

Copyright © 1999 Ivan Sever e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Lucie Bílá article/review: Missariel.

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