Maitre Gims – Ceinture Noire (2018)

Another outstanding double-disc album from the hyper-talented French performer. Across the album’s forty plus tracks, Maitre Gims displays once again just how vocally dexterous he is, able to croon, rap, and sing his heart out depending on each individual song. It’s really a wonder to listen to his chameleon-like ability to match the sentiment of each song perfectly, whether it’s carefree, mournful, angry or melancholic, among many others. There are stand-outs across both discs, anything from “Fuegolando,” “Entre Nous C’est Mort,” “Laissez-Moi Tranquille” and “Corazon” that represent some of his best-ever solo work. But it’s “Tu Reviendras” that demarcates this entire project as something special: Set to Ennio Morricone’s immortal score to 1988’s “Cinema Paradiso,” the song capitalizes on the simultaneous co-existence of the music’s celebratory, triumphant spirit and its undeniably nostalgic, melancholic arrangements and crafts a deeply touching break-up song out of an unexpected source.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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