TOMORROW MAY NOT BE BETTER
A Musical Armistice
Pounding rhythms, recycled riffs and strident lyrics are the weapons of choice in today’s highly competitive music business, where artists show neither mercy nor shame in the battle for the public’s favour. Bastian Baker lays all these weapons aside on Tomorrow May Not Be Better. And not because he doesn’t have the guts to use them. As a singer-songwriter who can create awesome worlds with melody and text alone, he simply doesn’t need them.
Fighting should come naturally to Baker. As a former professional ice hockey player, his daily routine for twelve years consisted of hard bandages, bruises, and a dedication to winning at all costs. Now, though, Bastian Baker has called a halt to body checking and is touching the hearts of his fans instead, with his music.
If you’re expecting this album to be nothing more than a cocky Swiss-French charm offensive, you’re in for a big surprise. That alone certainly wouldn’t have made such an impression on the organisers of the Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, or on ‘Mr Jazz Festival’ Claude Nobs, or on more than 20 Swiss radio stations in recent months. On the contrary, right from the start ‘Tomorrow May Not Be Better’ shows that the young man from Lausanne is a singer and songwriter of international stature and impressive charisma.
Bastian Baker’s debut album, mixed in Paris by Philippe Weiss (Wyclef Jean, Beastie Boys, Charles Aznavour), features top musicians like Fergus Gerrand (drums/percussion – Madonna, Duran Duran, Robert Plant) and Ken Stringfellow (guitar/keyboards – REM, The Posies), and proves that his first single, ‘Lucky’, was more than just a fluke. ‘Tomorrow May Not Be Better’ adds another 11 songs to Baker’s repertoire and leave us in no doubt whatsoever: as a musician, his form is every bit as good as it is on the rink.
Without ever becoming monotonous, the man from Lausanne seizes every opportunity to establish his own musical style, setting new benchmarks and throwing in highlights. The opening of the album, with ‘Colorful Hospital’ and ‘I’d Sing For You’, is such that no radio station could possibly ignore it. On ‘With You Gone’ the flamenco is completely natural, an intrinsic part of the song. On ‘Planet Earth’ he’s in sombre mood. On ‘Nobody Should Die Alone’ he demonstrates what happens when you see pop through to its natural conclusion. And with ‘Love Machine’ he delivers what is indisputably the best song since ‘Roxanne’ on the subject of love for sale.
‘They’re songs you can play on a summer evening with your friends,’ is how Bastian Baker describes his music. Presumably he realizes that from now on it could get pretty crowded around the campfire, and he’s going to have to move on to bigger stages. He has his work cut out for him, though. Because if ‘Tomorrow May Not Be Better’ is the sound of today, tomorrow is definitely going to find it hard to beat.
Video of the first studio session in Paris