Eric Russell – Personal [1993]

EricRussell1993

Olivier Constantin is a talented french vocalist who has worked with all the major european pop stars as backing vocalist. His debut album “Personal” was published only in Japan under the pseudonym of ERIC RUSSELL. Apparently, his Japanese label preferred a more anglo-american name for this AOR release, as the performers from this origin were very popular in Asia at that time. “Personal” is considered the best westcoast / AOR album sung in english ever recorded by a french artist. Eric / Olivier’s voice is warm and captivating, sounding absolutely american, with a perfect diction.

The album opens with the short beautiful piano ballad (strange things of the Asian market) ‘Song To Chloe’, followed by a sweet westcoast midtempo tune; ‘Never Be Mine’. ‘In The Middle Of The Day’ it’s a very calm tune that reminds me the best Michael McDonald. This song has refined arrangements and the songwriting is perfect. ‘Shining’ scatters a wonderful Lite AOR / pop with a charming pre-chorus and a sticky main chorus enriched by very nice female backing vocals. The uptempo ballad ‘Nobody Knows’ has tons of class and again, superb songwriting.

‘Someday Somehow’ is the star of this recording, a killer classic uptempo AOR melody with a chorus to die for. This kind of songs is the reason why I love this genre…  ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ is a lovely wimpy american ballad, ‘Don’t Slow Down’ a catchy rhythmic poppy AOR and ‘Mona Liza’ it’s wrapped with a very nice aura, a song much in the Paul Janz style.

Constantin managed to release this album in Germany (with european distribution) 2 years later under his real name Olivier Constantin, with a completely different tracklist. Two songs were replaced (one of them, the best of all: ‘Someday Somehow’ !!!) with 2 new recordings. “Personal” is a ridiculously good album on all aspects; great songwriting, excellent musicianship and first class production. It’s incredible that is not better known in the AOR world. Tie & Jacket AOR / Westcoast, with lots of class and style in the best American – Canadian tradition. Out Of Print. Highly Recommended….

Band Members
Eric Russell – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Jean Marc Alexandre, Franck Pilan, Kamil Rustam – Guitars
Thierry Durbet – Keyboards, Synths, Programming
Mario Santangeli – Hammond B3
Arnaud Aubaille – Piano
Dominique Grimaldi – Bass
Yves Sanna – Drums
Virginie Constantin, Mimi Felixine, Natacha Gerardin & Mario Santangeli – Background Vocals

Tracks
01. Song To Chloe
02. Never Be Mine
03. In The Middle Of The Day
04. Shining
05. Nobody Knows
06. Someday Somehow
07. Don’t Waste Your Time
08. Don’t Slow Down
09. Mona Liza
10. Serenade

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Eric Russell - Personal [1993], 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating