New on your playlist: South African soul, soft rock and treffers
Although you couldn't get three more different styles of music from the three white South African males whose latest albums landed on my desk this week, there are some coincidental similarities.
RJ Benjamin has called his last album, Inside. In a statement on his website he writes: ''The reason for my decision to 'get out of the game', is because I feel like I am getting trapped into making music that I do not truly believe in."
Inside reflects his rebellion. He's taken 13 house tracks he's sung on over the past few years and reinterpreted them in, well, any way he felt. House has been transformed into funk, soul, sock, flamenco, samba, jazz and various other styles that are hard to describe.
What is easy to describe is Benjamin's accomplished voice. It is rich, smooth and versatile and he is adept at choosing rhythms and melodies that suit him.
The 15 songs on this final album, most of them fairly laid back, are a tapestry of Benjamin's obvious talent as a singer/ songwriter. It's a talent that will now be channelled into teaching music to South Africa's future stars.
Arno Carstens' fifth solo album is Atari Gala ("Warning Cry" in Japanese). Once lead singer of The Springbok Nude Girls, Carstens sticks to what he knows on this album - soft rock and rock ballads that suit his baritone voice. Backed by prominent drumming, guitar strumming and synthesiser, it won't disappoint his loyal fans.
Invaders is my favourite on the album. It's soulful and drips raw emotion.
It's obvious in every track on the album that Carstens is going through a very emotional time.
Tracks 11, Only One Law, and 12, Sticking It In - both of which seem to be inspired by U2 - are made to be performed and Carstens will please fans at his next live show.
Ge Korsten, who committed suicide at 71, doubtless also had his share of emotional upheaval, but you would not think so, listening to the majority of tracks on this album, Treffers. His operatic baritone, cheesy as it may seem these days, suited to songs that belong in Utopian musicals, such as The Impossible Dream,Walk Away and Santa Lucia and a smattering of Afrikaans favourites. As much as I want to parody the album, I find these tracks delightful.