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Tender Forever | The Soft and the Hardcore (K)
Tender Forever is a very special songwriter, French chanteuse Melanie Valera performing solo, backed by a laptop of infantile electro-bleeps and twee drum beats, that clink and clunk in unison, depicting a sunshine-positive world, her voice pouring passionately with a sultry inflection in her accented English. Make Out has Valera pleading over accordions and tambourines, reaching a climatic crescendo as she sings with purity "We should make out in the car, and make out in the park, and make out in my heart." There's a sense of the classic songwriter about her, her compositions fit together with an ease that implies there could be no other arrangement, a sense of complete perfection shines from her songs.
Her music is also evidently auto-biographical. The jealousy contained within the lyrics "Hey what's going on, when you're talking on the phone, to that girl and it's not me?" in I'm Weird If I Want To Share is fervent in its expression. The melody twists and turns on itself, irritable and fidgety, its effect is a physical one as you listen, scuffling your own feet in sympathy and frustration.
Valera has created a wonderful thing with this album, melodically of yesteryear though sonically contemporaneous, it's a wonderful mix of the wistful and the passionate, and acts as a direct insight into Valera's personal world, which sounds an enchanting place indeed.

Jonathan Falcone
April 2006