GOOGOOSH - “Manifest”

MZM Records
2005 (1384)

Is it even possible that you have been lucky enough to avoid the Googoosh-centric controversy catalysed by the LA-satellite televisions this past year? (If yes, please give me the address to the Island you reside on, because you never know when it might be re-activated for commercial hype or damage-control!*LOL*) A spectacle without alike, in which ALL PARTIES without any exception put on any kind of act except for the one that is expected from them …professionalism! Having parted ways from Caltex Records now, Googoosh has maintained her elaborate collaboration with both Mehrdad Asemani and Shahyar Ghanbari who have together created and complied the DIVA’s latest collection entitled “Manifest”. The slip-cased album features 8 tracks + 2006-calendar-sheet portraying Googoosh in a pose very similar to Shohreh’s on her “Havas” released 1-2 months earlier! “Manifest” is released on MZM records.

The DIVA seems to have taken off on a crusade against everything between heaven and earth and apparently MEN are next on the agenda! In a martyr-feministic jargon she cries “Aai Mardom Mordam” and puts her heartache-causing man on a trial, making the own domestic case THE cause for all history’s women!

“Nejaatam Bede” takes the album further. Musically is this song reminiscent of “Q Q Bang Bang”!

Another not-so-different ballad entitled “Eshgh Yani Hamechiz” continues this unconventional BALLAD-after-BALLAD tradition!

Trying to emulate the 70’s sound and style a la John Barry in “Sangare BiSang”, the psychedelic twist of the song prevents it from accomplishing its mission!

Finally the rhythm kicks in “Khoobe Khoob”, a song in style with the previous album. The pace of this song makes it stand out after a rather long series of sentimental ballads! The closest thing to a “personal favourite” for me on this album.

Next comes the most up-beat track on the album with a ROCK/BLUES groove and style not so elegantly arranged! “Ghazale Shisheyi” is meant to be the commercial magnet of the album but fails to live up to the preceded reputation!

We are closer to the end and the closer we get the more Mehrdad makes himself vocally heard! The upbeat “Aaftabi” with its subtle LATIN influences is a rather diffuse and scattered song in terms of most elements! Perhaps the weakest song on the album.

And in “Shenaasnaameye Man”, the official duet with Mehrdad, the psychedelic process started in the previous track hits dead-end! The song has an obvious NATIONALISTIC jargon and market appeal. If you haven’t got enough of Googoosh-Mehrdad duets by now, here is another one for you to devour!

By going against all guidelines for a professional management in the world of entertainment and business, bringing the backstage-affairs on the stage of the Circus that our LA-based satellite-TV stations bring to town every once in a while, Googoosh single-handedly managed to not only demystify the LEGEND that she once was, but also by her own hands smash the great IDOL in many eyes and turn it into a full-fledged media-martyr in many others! These were the pitfalls I mentioned in my review on “Aakharin Khabar“! It’s been over 20 years now since the Swedish MEGA group, the still internationally popular ABBA stopped performing and each day they become more loved than the day before! Every once in a while they release collector’s versions of their old albums and it sells like crazy! There are so many people who pray for a reunion and comeback and a couple of years ago they were offered crazy numbers for a comeback concert! Just one single concert! But they declined, arguing that they stopped while being on TOP and by no means do they even consider a reunion and thereby also a demystification of the LEGEND they have become! When you think of it, there lies much sense in their argument! Something I now, with the result in hands, can only wish that Googoosh could have considered before a return!

My main critique on “Aakharin Khabar” basically applies to “Manifest” as well! It is a clinically well-produced album but at the same time also clinically “sterile”! Lacking even the slightest charm of freshness that the previous album enjoyed in its arrangements’ innovation! “Manifest” is the manifestation of a new Googoosh! The manifestation of a “mortalised” Googoosh! …the IDOL is now smashed and the LEGEND long gone!

Artistic Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: +
Commercial Potential: +++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: +
Ethical Adherence: +++
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Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!