Never before has an album cover more accurately set the tone for an album as “Human” by Juliette Commagere. Aeronaut Records produced “Human,” and maybe she was feeling spacey that day, but the cover features a galaxy background along with Commagere hugging a wolf/dog creature. Pretty out of this world, but the same couldn’t be said about the album. Well, in a way, yes.
Commagere’s alto voice is beautiful to say the least, but she should have stuck with her indie band Hello Stranger. Now, I don’t like Hello Stranger any more than I like Commagere’s solo stuff, but her style seemed more solid and of this planet, or “earthy.” May I bring to attention the album artwork for Hello Stranger’s self-titled 2006 album? It’s just plain tacky, and worse than her solo albums. Now, I’m not here to nitpick album artwork, when it’s the music I’m here for. But just look at it. Ugh.
“Rebel” (No. 5) is the best song on the album by far. The song title is perfect because she is rebelling against the style of the rest of her songs on the weird album. Also, if you can get through the album long enough to listen to “Human,” (No. 11), the song the album is titled after, you will be whisked away into outer space, and land on a planet of purple clouds and unicorns. Really, close your eyes and take a listen. The unicorn is over there by the rainbow waterfall! Perhaps, unbeknownst to me, that’s the entire goal of the album — taking the listener to a place completely nonhuman.
Some songs, like “Big Star” (No. 2) and “Hold On” (No. 3) remind me of pop love songs from the 1980s, or even Enya. Her work is really not my style. Saying that, her older solo albums, “Queens Die Proudly” (2008) and “The Procession” (2010) are much more palatable and don’t give me acid trip symptoms when I listen. Both of these albums are available on Spotify, and I would recommend everyone take a listen and compare her albums.
Juliette Commagere is a talented singer/songwriter; she just had a bad trip with her latest album. Ignoring “Human” from her discography completely would, if anything, make me appreciate her more as an artist.
“Human” gets two stars. Similar artists I would recommend are her old indie band Hello Stranger and Orenda Fink.