Never in my life would I have guessed that i would be writing a blog, much less a blog entry with the title “Love by Cartier.” But as I was doing a little research into the band Phoenix (more on them later) their website advertised a “Free Download” and, as you probably know, I’m a sucker for anything free and more of a sucker when that free thing is music. So I followed the link. To the Cartier website.

I was in a mild form of shock and a definite state of confusion. Because I was greeted by this website:

It’s not exactly what I was expecting. But it’s always a pleasant experience to find more then you were expecting. In this case I was glad, because it led me to a whole CD (12 tracks, standard) of music for free download. And there are some really good songs on it. There are also films on the website, a link to the charity, and highlights of the new Cartier jewelry collection. I briefly viewed one of the films, but when I realized it was just an artsy, black and white excuse to promote the aforementioned new collection, I stopped. I can only take so much propaganda in one day, and that website was too much to begin with–as pretty looking as it is.

Back to the music: there are some incredibly great songs on that CD, and sadly the reason I was there, for the Phoenix single, was not the highlight. Well, really that’s better news for me because it means I’m expanding my musical horizons. And I’m sorry this review isn’t more in depth, but I keep falling asleep during my listening sessions. You try and see if you can get through the whole thing without at least getting a little droopy eyed.

  1. “The Ground That We Stand On” by Hawksley Workman – In my opinion, the best song on the compilation. Unassuming, simple, delightful. A near perfect song. Wonderful lyrics, such as the lines where the title is derived: “The time that we keep wasting, like we don’t know the pain we’re called to bear. Oh the ground that we stand on won’t long be there.” It’s a song that passes my ultimate test: relistenability. Unlike my favorite Weezer songs that I have to take a pause from, this I cannot get enough of, repeat listen after repeat listen. If you download one song from this website (though you should download them all) it should be this one.
  2. “The Strong Ones” by Marion Cotillard – It’s just one of those infectious ballads that you’re kind of tempted to cry along with. Not really, but just a little. And sung by Marion Cotillard, the actress who (more than deservedly) won the Best Actress Oscar this year for her performance in the biopic of Edith Piaf, La Vie En Rose. And now she sings, and sings much better than other actress turned singers (such as the most recent disaster: Scarlett Johansson. Or even the disappointing Julie Delpy album.) This song is just sweet, a song for people in love (which is a pretty common theme if you haven’t already guessed.)
  3. “Love in This World” by Khalil Fong – how many soul and R&B performers do you really expect to come out of Hong Kong? Seriously? If you’re impressed by that idea alone, you’ll love the track. This very smooth Jack Johnson-esque track is sung in goodness knows which (or how many different) languages, and it’s just so smooth, and so good.
  4. “Drive Around Another Time and Stop” by Grand National – From the first seconds of this track I assumed I would hate it. It sounded like the overhead music I would expect to be in a Cartier store, or worse: the elevator music in the Cartier store. But I got over it. The over synthesized background isn’t so bad, because ultimately these guys do know what they’re doing, and they do make a good song out of it, regardless. At the very least, it’s quite different, at least to my ears, and so somewhat exciting simply because of that.
  5. “Twenty-One One Zero” by Phoenix – I’ll highlight it, if only because it was the track that got me there in the first place. I do want to say it is a good song, it really is, but having listened to the rest of the Cartier compilation, I admit it is not my favorite. I was inspired by Phoenix’s latest album “It’s Never Been Like That” to seek out this new song in the first place, and I was initially surprised by the lack of lyrics throughout most of the song (not that they aren’t there). As the Cartier website says of Phoenix’s music: “a blend of youthful excitement and the mysterious science of the counterpoint.” A fair and good description to this mysterious little song.

Ok, that’s all. I’ll stop there, lest I get carried away, and more critical as I get to the songs I don’t like as much–like the weepy, voiceless, curious, but ultimately boring “Mor” by fennesz+sakamoto.

The other songs on the compilation are: “Liz and Jonny” by Dan Black, “Infinite Love” by Little Dragon, “The Power of the Heart” by Lou Reed, “Sur l’Ecorce” by Pauline Croze, “I Am Snow” by Sol Seppy, and “Everybody Knows” by Thomas Dybdahl.

However what I would like to impress upon you: Please download the track “The Ground That We Stand on” by Hawksley Workman. It’s a great song.