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Joel Pelletier Comments (press & public)
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Joel Pelletier Reviews and Press

Gods of Music
(review of song "
Lie To Me")
"Simply astounding.

If you have any more excuses for why pop music isn't worth listening to, throw them right the hell out your window, because you obviously haven't heard Joel Pelletier lately. This guy knows how to write catchy lyrics and background music that will hook you like no other.

And this music is just all around entertaining. You can sing along without feeling strange, because it has that simplicity that pop music exudes. You're allowed to enjoy it, and so the music becomes all the more fun to listen to.

Musically, this is a well performed song, all the instruments are perfectly fit to their situation, all the way from guitars and drums to a nearly symphonic string sound. And Joel's vocals fit with everything like a glove, like this song was simply meant to sound a certain way.

Download this song from his page, it's free, and it is worth every second you spend listening. My attention has been piqued, and I'll surely be back to his site later to download the rest. If I didn't, I'd just be cheating myself.

  • Charisma: 9.00
  • Technical Skill: 9.50
  • Structure: 8.50
  • Interest: 9.00
  • Lyrics: 8.50
  • Performance: 8.50
  • Arrangement: 8.50
  • Recording Quality: 9.00
  • Long Term Appeal: 9.00
  • OVERALL: 8.80"

    - Jonathan Sanders, GodsOfMusic.com, 1 February 2002

    Secrets of Home Theatre and HiFi"Chamber Pop" is more than just the title of this album - it is a concept. As a lover of traditional chamber-music I felt immediately at home with Joel Pelletier's offering. With most of my musical experience being in the pop and rock fields, this was, for me, the perfect union. There have been many fusions of the classical and pop worlds, ranging from "Tommy", the Rock-Opera, through the Moody Blues (Days of Future Passed) and The Beatles (Yesterday, and others) to The Electric Light Orchestra, incorporating a string-section in its make-up. Joel's line-up is more like the last mentioned, though the style is more "Eleanor Rigby" than "Kuiama".

    Most of the songs - there are no instrumentals - are acoustic based. Summing up, one could describe a 'typical' arrangement here as a string quartet augmented by drums and electric bass or double bass. At other times we hear organ and electric guitar parts. And the vocal deserves some comment of its own. I found Joel's voice slightly thin, and that is exacerbated by the excess use of the 'presence' EQ filter. There is too much lift in the mid-range. Whilst giving the vocals an edge, I don't think Joel's voice needs it, especially in the current setting.

    The lyrics are meaningful, with a mix of social comment and personal reflection. "Birthday Song" makes some poignant reminiscences over the years and I particularly like the way its End takes a direct quote from The End of "The End" from Abbey Road. It's a piece I have taken to using as a closing theme in radio shows, the piece that ends 'And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make'. A nice link with 30 years ago - maybe that was Joel's age when he wrote it.

    For some reason there are two drummers featured on "Chamber Pop". Both Joe Lizama and Lenny Roberto are tight and interesting but I found a lack of consistency in Joe's tone which detracted from 3 of 'his' tracks: numbers 2, 8 and 11. With a very taught skin on the snare-drum, and little vibration from the snare itself, the effect is of a kiddies toy drum-kit. A pity, because his other tracks, 6 and 9, have a lovely resonant crash to them, with some very neat brush-work on "Touch".

    But the main interest for many will be the string-section and they are used to perfection. They all fit together so well that there is no hint of their being 'bolted-on' to the side of a rock combo. The concept really works without any self-consciousness. The live shows based on this line-up must be a treat indeed. - Graham Vine, Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity, Essex, UK, November 2000

    earBuzz.com "Tremendous songwriting and arranging, combined with a vocal timbre that endears the ears - add an enhanced CD that includes an interactive portion for the home computer - and, BAM, you've got the deliciously musical 12 song collection, "Chamber Pop", by Joel Pelletier. Lyrically, Pelletier makes a brilliant attempt to leave the past behind as he forges into the future, talent and musicianship intact. The theme of 'not looking back' and "a world in constant change" (including the people in Joel's tunes) is thread through most all of the tracks, giving listeners a glimpse into the emotional state the artist was in during the writing of the record - or at least in the picking of the tunes for the collection. Track 1, "What are you Now", is a musical question to the schizo-buddy, 'it seems to me, if you used half that energy getting somewhere instead of talking about it you'd be there, first you are lost, then you are found, then you're misplaced, then you're not around, first you are great, they you're a clown, what are you now?' The tune is up tempo and fun - with a touch of intelligence and cynicism that's endearing. Track 2, "Lie to Me", is self-reflected pop tune with 'chamber' backing that questions Joel's own ability to lie to himself. Track 6, "Birthday Song", is an introspective look into Pelletier's evolution into his father and solidified adulthood - not so understood and welcomed, but the change impossible to avoid. The tune is an acoustic guitar based folk beauty. In track 7, "20th Century", Joel lights up the reggae love in him while telling the past century - 'see ya' - his lyrics hit the mark in his perspective of the millennium motion, 'i'm not nostalgic for the 20th Century, since i was born there it hasn't done that much for me, I'm not nostalgic, . .'cause then I'd live in the past and that's the last place I want to be'. The final track is a free moving stringed chamber pop ditty that puts a period on the overall message of Pelletier's record, 'it will never be the same'. Everything changes, mostly. . and fortunately for us, the CD won't - as it's enjoyed over and over again. - earBuzz.com, June 2000.

    Listen.com "Awesome chooglin' bass that breaks in with kick-butt chunk, tight "get up and dance" drums, and the unexpected intrusion of crisp, Baroque strings make for some interesting pop with Folk shadings. Now add a coarse voice you can grab onto and some choice lyrics that, while a little new age-y, don't sound stupid and you've got some smart stuff that the kids'll hate. - Mike M, Listen.com (describing "What Are You Now?" - go to music to hear for yourself!).

    Musesmuse"No truer cd title has been written - this is chamber pop. A band and a chamber orchestra - working together for the uncommon good. 'Birthday Song' is like one of the middle songs in the Beatles' Abbey Road, one of the connected songs, but I can't remember the name. Then there's the smooth, acoustic pop of '20th Century', with its close harmonies and bongos, proclaiming 'i'm not nostalgic for the 20th century / though i was born there it doesn't mean that much to me / i'm not nostalgic for the 20th century / cause then i'd live in the past / and that's the last place i'd want to be'. It's also an enhanced cd with some cool design and art to it. I like what I see and hear." Ben Ohmart, Musesmuse.com, February 2000.

    RedButton.com"Joel Pelletier's 'Birthday Song' is a smart and charming ditty, which tips a hat to Billy Joel and Marvin Hamlish. Pelletier's music has a modern theatrical sense about it that will bring you into a world with lots of tradition, but voiced with a contemporary feel. Here at Red Button, we believe that there is an audience for all music and that 'Birthday Song' will cater to a more mature taste for fans of singer-songwriters. Pelletier brings a lot of talent, having done a majority of the recording, performance and all the song writing, to his album -- " Chamber Pop" -- a collection of well crafted pop tunes, and the home of 'Birthday Song.' Please indulge and check out Joel Pelletier's Red Button debut 'Birthday Song' (it evokes a different mood unlike anything else on the site) and then buy (download) the track for $1.99." Red Button.com, August 1999.

    George Graham "Joel Pelletier is one of many pop performers with some training and background in classical music. But unlike most, he deftly combines both facets in his appropriately named CD Chamber Pop. He writes good, intelligent pop lyrics, which he performs in a vocal style that is appealing though not terribly distinctive in the world of singer-songwriters. But musically, his material stands out. His skill as a composer and arranger, combining tuneful melodic lines with his artistically substantial string arrangements, and songs that often take an interesting turn in themselves, makes this an album that will reveal something new each time one listens... People have been trying with various degrees of success to mix classical and rock or pop. Joel Pelletier' Chamber Pop is one of the best of such efforts in recent times.
    George Graham, WVIA, Pittston, PA, 19 July 1999 (complete review)

    New Haven Advocate"Joel Pelletier's self-categorized "chamber-pop" tune "Birthday Song" sounds superb. Layering acoustic guitar with well-scored and well-produced strings, topping it off with a George Harrison-style lead and a direct quote from the Beatles' "The End," Pelletier creates a touching pop song about aging."
    (excerpt from "Indie Music Storms the Net" by Hank Hoffman, The New Haven Advocate, 12 Feb 99; complete article posted here

    Music Connection Demo Critique

    Music Connection
    "The artist's ambitious "chamber pop" concept - complete with a string quartet - is very well-realized on this enhanced 3-song CD. Arrangements are well thought out and never overbearing - not to mention well recorded. With echoes of singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn sans the politics, Pelletier's lyrics are intelligent without being intellectual. A litle to heavy a mix on the electric bass, but all in all, a tight package that any open-minded A&R rep should take a serious listen to.
    (Music Connection Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, 2/1/99-2/14/99)

    Taxi Taxi is a Los Angeles-based music critique service which, for a fee, posts music industry "listings" for songs & songwriters from (they claim) producers, labels, artists, film & TV projects, etc. I was member for a couple of years (actually a freebie in exchange for links on some of my commercial music sites), and here are the range of comments and responses I received from the Taxi reviewers. Note: none of the forwarded songs EVER generated a phone call or interest from the "industry" listings.

    CBS News aired a story on MPEG3 music and the Internet featuring an interview with me, this website and a live performance of "Birthday Song" (Real Video 28.8; 56). The story originally aired on Sunday evening, 22 November 1998, then repeated in continous feeds overnight, the next day on the CBS Morning show, and even in Great Britain thru SKY 1.
    Focusing on the music industry and the RIO MPEG3 player, it opens and closes with my live performance of "Birthday Song," recorded at Petterson's 30 October 1998, and includes portions of an interview taped before the performance, shots of this website, and clips of an MPEG version of "Birthday Song." Correspondent: Vince Gonzoles, CBS News.

    "Joel Pelletier, CHAMBER POP: Joel's catchy, McCartney-esqe lines (on acoustic, electric and upright bass) form the heart of these dynamic pop confections." Bass Player Magazine's Indie City, September 1998

    (complete review of Chamber Pop CD)
    "Very interesting... Bassist Joel Pelletier has invested 5 years of his life into the making of this album. Chamber Pop has definately got a "pop" edge, though the presence of his chamber orchestra (including violinists, viola, cello, and Joel on doulbe bass) make this album unique. It is refreshing to hear a chamber orchestra, with its pizzicato passages and singing crescendos into choruses, playing pop changes and melodies." (Bass Frontiers, May-June 1998)

    "Drawing in influences from pop and classical sources, "Chamber Pop" is a real lesson in experimentation. There is strong use of a string quartet throughout the album but the electric side of the creation always creeps up and rears it's head. Lyrically it's pretty haunting but I definitely stake my claim that the classical side of the "experiment" is where it wins me over. The whole project is a real multimedia experiment, the CD is serious enhanced and only available over the Net." (Sampler Magazine, June 1998)

    Music Connection (complete review of a live performance at Common Grounds in Northridge, CA, on 30 April 1998)
    The Players: Joel Pelletier, vocals, guitar; Joe Lizama, percussion; Jeff Corwin, violin; Jana Jacoby, violin; Adrianna Zoppo, viola; J.W., cello.
    Material: Joel Pelletier's material borders on being folk music, but it also carries with it some rock sensibilities and even gives a nod to chamber music. The title of his album is, after all, Chamber Pop, and while the lyrics are true stories - or atleast Pelletier claims they are - the music is something a little different. With these kind of hard-hitting lyrics, one might think that they may not mesh with a string quartet, but guess again. This seemed to be the perfect marriage of eclectic sounds. The stark sound of the guitar and the percussion melded very well with the lush sounds of the string quartet, which provided sweet interludes when they were called for, while also bringing to light some very sincere pathos when needed.
    Musicianship: Joel Pelletier is a very engaging singer. While his voice may not be technically perfect, it is the kind of voice that captures the listener's imagination and brings the lyrics to life. Also, Pelletier makes sure that the lyrics, which are a big part of this music, are clearly vocalized so that the audience does not have to wonder what the last sentence meant, except when he is being enigmatic on purpose. He is also a good guitar player, solid enough to carry through this music and to create the sounds he has to have. Joe Lizama is also a good match for Pelletier's muse, creating a percussion atmosphere that fits the whole scene and never overpowers either the music or the lyrics, which could be very easy to do. And the string quartet played this music as if they were born to do it. They sounded full and bright when necessary, and sat back when not needed. Overall, they provided a great counterpoint to Pelletier's stark vocal style and guitar work.
    Performance: Each of these musicians put on a textbook performance of the way a show should go. It did not matter whether there were two people listening or 200. The band played as is every note counted and as if they were professionals who were willing to entertain any crowd. This is difficult with arrangements such as these, but Pelletier and his crew pulled it off. They made what could have been a very uneven show look simple.
    Summary: Pelletier plays this music in many configurations, but if you can see him with the string quartet, they are a big plus. This is not to take anything away from Pelletier and his material, as it is superlative. Definately seek this artist out. (John Pepper, CLUB REVIEWS - Vol. XXII, No. 11, 5/25-6/7/98. Photo: Rod Goodman)

    "Joel is a local singer-songwriter with a very special talent for choosing the exact words necessary to make his lyrical points. The opening track of his tape, "Without Me," is a perfect example of biting humor, melody and poignant lyrics. This tape is as bare as can be - simple acoustic guitar and voice on the first two songs. But the songs are strong enough to carry the feelings through. When track three kicks in with an entire band, the same feeling for melody pervades the song. Pelletier has definately studied the craft of songwriting. "Shades of Grey" is top-notch! The closer, "Everytime I Lie," opts for a bit of a classical touch yet the singer's style still shines through. Joel Pelletier is a singer-songwriter capable of writing many different kinds of songs but he performs them in the same style. That's artistry. That's what makes you remeber him." (Editors, DEMO REVIEW, 1993)
    "...these songs are far more pop-oriented and accessible than you're led to believe. Additionally, Pelletier's got a warm, very listenable, and unusual voice, and the songs are well-produced and well-arranged. Simply put, I like this demo..." (Pat Lewis, SONGWORKS, 1992)

    BAM Magazine "...medium pop-rock tinged with various contemporary influences - it is also honest, heartfelt, overwhelmingly positive and well crafted." (Natalie Nichols, ALTERNATIVE CURRENTS, 1991)

    LA Village VIEW "Compared to the more plaintive singer/songwriters working L.A.'s coffehouse circuit, Joel Pelletier possesses the appealing, humorous edge of a country tunesmith. Not that his music has a country and western sound, but rather his song craft relies simply on rustic, biting lyrics and bittersweet musings, much the same way country appeals with its rough-hewn sensibility.
    Musiically, Pelletier uses a number of styles (folk ballad, light rock, Latin-influenced guitar) to create a comfortable groove for his innocent, yet honest lyrics. Much of his material features bare bones, my-voice-and-my-guitar simplicity, but Pelletier's easy, melodic vocals carry the songs. The introspective substance of "Without Me" is clear evidence of his solid abilities at pop writing. "Rather Have You," a restless, contemplative ditty analyzing the choices in a relationship, is another charmer with easygoing nuances that subtly coax you into humming along.
    ...Backed by a full band, his material probably blossoms with greater dynamics, yet even in this gentler format his music was substantive and moving. " (Sandy Salina Messana, THE LOCAL WIRE, reviewing a duo gig, 1993)

    Please send a copy of any press mention or reviews (or email the web address if online) to:
    The Way Home Media, Box 2663, Los Angeles, CA 91601 USA

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    Fan and public comments
    Comments from those not paid to do so.

    Joel, I stumbled across a recommendation for your Chamber Pop CD awhile back and bought a copy of it from Not Lame Records. Wow. Nice Record. I simply was captivated from start to finish. I love the whole orchestral pop thing and this just filled the bill. I especially loved What Are You Now, Birthday Song, Rather Have You and Not Afraid of the End. Actually I loved them all.

    I hit your website and checked out everything. I downloaded the two "b-sides" not on the album. I will check back from time to time. Love the bio (go Voyager!)... Thanks for a great listen today (and in the future!) I am going to buy a couple copies as gifts.

    You should play the International Pop Overthrow!!!!!! Best of luck, best wishes.

    Tom Warfel (7/25/2001)

    I hope this letter makes it's way to you. As time goes on I'm sure you will not be able to read all of your fan mail.

    Marita, my fiance, and I were recently visiting a favorite used book store, one that we go to whenever we are in Flagstaff, AZ. Sort of serendipitously, she picked up your CD and was intrigued by the cover art. We are both eclectic in our musical tastes, so the idea of using a string quartet in a "pop" album sounded interesting. Happily we both enjoyed the hell out of it...

    On the way down the hill we were both blown away by the honesty, cleverness and humor, not to mention the great production and musicianship. Her favorite is Wall Inside. I am torn between Lie to Me and 20th Century.

    I have honestly never written a fan letter before. I am much the iconoclast. I am compelled to tell you how much your music has touched us. I hope you will push for a tour in the Phoenix area...

    Either way, PLEASE keep it up!!!

    Tim Klien, Phoenix, AZ (4/26/2001)

    Yo, Joel! Hello there. My name is Sammy James, and I've just discovered that I'm a big fan of yours! :) Seriously, man -- this is fantastic. You clearly have done REAMS of stuff in your career, and this is something that I my self aspire to one day...

    Sammy James (4/26/2001)

    OK, this is my first "fan" letter. I felt the need to write to a stranger and tell him how wonderful I think his music is! I do very much enjoy your music, it is my study companion as well as a number of other things. It was pretty cool to see you in Star Trek too! :-) Best regards, Valary (2/4/2001)

    Hi Joel, Just a note to let you know that I still play your cd and enjoy it very much. I got it about a year ago. If it were a record it would be worn out by now. I cannot wait till you release a new CD. I hope to be the first in line. I just wanted to know if you are planning to come back to Mass. for a gig or two. I live in Greenfield, Ma (the non boston side) and I keep checking to see if you are going to come to UMass in Amherst, but so far no luck. Do you send out e-mails for gigs not in CA? Do you do any elsewhere? Thanks, Stephen Simon, Greenfield, MA (12/12/00)

    Howdy Joel, I just happened to be sifting around on the net and I ran across your site... and figured I'd give your music a quick listen. I rarely offer comments on the net... but, just wanted to say "WOW". I dunno if I'm able to add much to what everyone is already saying to you regarding your extraordinarily interesting sound. I believe it's just a matter of time for this type of project to squeeze it's way into the broad realm of popular music. From a fellow artist... I say just continue to believe in your work, your passion for the art, and yourself. I'm gonna go find a little space on my credit card for this CD very very soon. Best wishes, Lenny Hamilton, Jr.

    I saw you perform at NAMM 2000 and let me say, it was easily the best performance I saw while in LA. The music, the presentation... it was my highlight... I'm fortunate I made it - you have a new fan... Besides the songs, the whole CD experience is just fantastic. What a presentation! I know you really put some work into that... BTW, I have my kids (6 & 8yrs old) hooked on "What Are You Now". They can now recite the entire song. That song has movie opening/closing written all over it. I also visited your website - also a piece of work. Congratulations. You obviously got it all together. I wish you the best of luck - major success is no doubt on the way. I am ordering 2 more Chamber POP CD's when I finish this session for a few friends - one in Chicago and one in New Orleans (my home town). I know they'll love it. I will get on your mailing list and I hope you perform near Dallas some day (or N.O.). I'll keep an eye out. Rusty Membreno, 2/11/2k

    Hi Joel, Mike from S.L.A.M. here. Although I received your press-kit a few weeks ago, I didn't get to it until last weekend. I went through literally everything on the CD-ROM, and watched the video as well. I have to honestly say this is the most-original and imprsssive press-kit I have seen/heard ever! You're orchestrations are amazing and the songs are all enjoyable. I wish more people had this type of talent... Keep up the amazing work. :) Mike, 2/9/2k

    "I enjoy your CD "Chamber Pop" very much. Reminds me of Joe E. Daddario's "Living In A Restless Age." Both of these Enhanced CDs have seen a great deal of time in my CD player and computer." Bob, RDowe1@aol.com

    "Hey Joel, I've been checkin out your CD tonight and I think it's very cool. You are awsome!" Dave Licher

    "I went to the mp3.com and found a couple of your songs. They were good enough to lead me to your site where I found a couple more. After downloading them and listening to them I just had to Want the CD?...... Rec'd your CD and have to say that it is going to be one of my top ten for a long time. Your songs were written as though you know me. They hit close to home. Chrisp and clean, and I can understand the words... I hope that it does not take another 5 years to get another CD out of you. At this rate I will be too old and probably deaf by time I get 4 of your works. If it does it will be worth the wait. I would love to hear any new work... I'm sorry to be so long winded but I just wanted you to know that your work is very much valued. If Chamber Pop is your only work you will be considered a sucess." Steve and Margaret Simon

    "Listening to "Birthday Song." Nice sound. Great harmony and use of strings. I like it!!! Scott Meldrum, Crushwerx Music

    "We have listened to your very strong CD titled "Chamber Pop." I particularly like tracks "20th Century" "Lie to Me" and "Sword." Are you interested in being posted on Red Button? Thanks for submitting such a mature/quality release." Braden Merrick, RedButton.com

    "Wow!! This is very cool music. From the opening track the sound (you know, the actual timbre-tone-vibe&sound) is really unique rich and great to hear. The great thing is, I haven't heard anything else like it and it really has a quality that will be loved by regular non-musician types too. Your lyrics are very introspective yet capture personal subjects that people can relate to. You also go on the edge with your subject matter...talking about things that most people would secretly understand but not be likely to admit to. Anyway, congratulations on a masterpiece and best wishes with it's future success." Lea Emmerson, ENVOY, Los Angeles

    "I was just surfing the web, and mp3.com, and I came across some of your songs. I really enjoyed them." Ryan Pieratt, Producer, Batavia Access Television, Channel 43

    "Hi. I sort of surfed in to the mp3.com and I downloaded "Sword." Kickass song. Real music. And then I downloaded your other songs there and now I want to buy the album\albums. So if you know where in Norway its possible to buy, please reply. Byebye....kickass song, man." e-iverse

    "hey there...never heard of you before joel, but when i did a search on "lennon" it back with you...so i played "birthday song" and read the lyric of "touch", "sword" and the one about lies (oops, forgot the title, sorry) and i must say...i liked it...good talent there and being one who compares everything against JOL and the beatles, i must admit, sir...i enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings (like john did) and take care, good luck and have peace..." pax, d'philip chalmers, MP3.com viewer

    "i really dig your music!!!! your MP3 sounds really good!!!" Freakboy, MP3.com viewer email

    "Your work on this CD shows through... the time and money and talent you put into this certainly is exemplorary, and it is certainly something to be very proud of, so congratulations. My two favorite cuts on the whole thing are "The Same To You" and "What Are You Now?"; although they are the most contemporary pop songs, those are still my favorites... it is unique, different moody music, music... I appreciate your work, I appreciate the effort and the love and the heart that you put into all of this - it shows up in the (CD)" Michael Dolan, publisher, Music Connetion Magazine

    "Hey, Man! Cool site, cool music, cool dude-- I'm envious!.. it's strong, beautiful music & stirringly presented." Harry Gilbert (now one of my main cellists!), Westchester, CA

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  • © 2018 Joel Pelletier, The Way Home Media/Music, Hollywood, CA
    email: joelp@joelp.com

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