Bon Voyage:



My #1 Album

in 2009


in 2008 on

Tooth & Nail

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    Bon Voyage’s debut album was my #2 favorite of 2000; their second album was my #1 album of 2002.  Here is their third album and it, too, reaches the top spot on my Annual Music Awards.  This is true even though each of the three albums has a different sound, with this latest album being significantly different from the previous two.

    The debut album had heavy fuzz guitars; the sophomore release was more of a sweet pop sound, though still guitar-based.  Lies went to an all synthesizer sound!  When I first heard this while sampling the album at a Borders store, I wasn’t sure what to think of it.  The sounds in each of their first two albums were sounds that I strongly associate with summer, and Bon Voyage had become a summer group for me.  I have no summer association with synthesizer music, and also was not sure how I would like Julie Martin’s vocals with synthesizers.

    But since the first two albums were such strong albums for me, I bought this one too, and I was not at all disappointed, as you can see by this #1 ranking.

    Other than the bit about Bon Voyage’s previous albums being summer music, I don’t know what my apprehension was about.  I love synthesizer music!  I love Julie Martin’s voice!  I love the music of Jason Martin, especially what he writes for Bon Voyage!

    Julie Martin has a dreamy, whispery soprano voice (my wife has called it “too girly”).  Julie has  perhaps the loveliest voice of any singer I can think of.  Other favorite singers of mine are Christine Glass, Anita Robinson, and Cathy Burton, who all also have whispery soprano voices (I guess that’s my thing), but I don’t think any of them melt me like Julie Martin’s voice does.  She has a sweetness, a romantic sound, that I hear from no one else.

    As for Jason Martin’s songs, particularly with Bon Voyage, they have a character to them that has a feel-good element, something that goes deep down into my soul and makes it smile.  In my review of Bon Voyage’s previous album, The Right Amount, I described how it didn’t matter what mood I was in, that album made me feel better.

    As the title of this album Lies suggests, the songs on this album are not all so much about feeling good, yet despite some of the lyrical themes, it’s still an album that feels mostly good throughout, and certainly ends on a classic Jason Martin/Bon Voyage feel-good note.

   Here’s what I mean about some of the lyrics not being quite as feel-good as on past Bon Voyage albums.  The album begins with the words, “I wish I was a monster--I would hide under the stairs.  I wish I was a nightmare--I’d give you a scare.  I could be a bad dream, make you scream....”  And yet, as she sings these words, she sounds so playful.

    The second song is less playful:  “You make me feel like I’m losing you, baby. Have you made up your mind?  Don’t you lie when you look me in the eye; don’t you lie, because you do it every time.”

    Track #8 is a cover of the hit song by The Smiths, “Girlfriend In A Coma.”  This one cracks me up because you have this song with really sober lyrics, put to a pretty synthesizer sound and Julie’s sweet, relaxed and pleasant voice:  “Girlfriend in a coma, it’s so serious...there were times I could have murdered her, but you know I would hate for anything to happen to her. Do you really think she’ll come through?”  I liked the version by The Smiths okay, but I love this version of the song, maybe because it’s so incongruous.

    I can actually understand nearly all of the words being sung on this Bon Voyage release, unlike the previous two.  But much of the time, it still doesn’t help me understand what the song is about.  Take, for example, the lyrics from “Best Friend”:

One is the loneliest number

Two is for great company

Three is always a crowd

Four and five, they make nine

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend

But where do you turn when you have no more friends?

But then, I never listened to Bon Voyage -- or any Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) or Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric) songs -- for the lyrics, since I can never figure out what the songs are about anyway.  For all the Martins, it’s all about the music, and oh, such wonderful music it is.

    Having said that, there are a couple songs that I do get at least the general topic.  I like the song “Diary” because I’ve always liked writing about my life:  “So I’ll write it down in my diary, to make a story of my memory.”  It’s one of the happier songs on the album.  The song “Birthday” starts out, “Did you send me a card--let me know that you tried, know that you care, know that you came by--did you try?  It’s my birthday!”  I can’t tell for sure, but I have a feeling that the song is something along the lines of, “You forgot my birthday...again,” especially since it comes right after the song “Lies.”

    The album clocks in at 31:57, a short time that’s standard for Bon Voyage releases, made even shorter when you consider that the song “Bad Dream” (track #9) is actually a remix of the opening track, “Monster.”  “Bad Friend” is merely a one-minute instrumental extension of “Best Friend,” and like past Bon Voyage albums, the next to last song on the album is a 1-minute quiet instrumental.  So actually, there are only 8 full-length original songs on this album, but again, with Bon Voyage, it’s such a rich emotional experience, I don’t mind at all.  It’s worth every penny.

    The album ends with the song “Wake Up, Make Up,” whose lyrics I cannot make out, but it doesn’t matter to me.  This may be my favorite song on the album, and it’s a wonderful one to end the album’s so happy just buoys up with good feelings and sends me floating like a balloon.  This is the kind of music and mood that keeps Bon Voyage at the top of my Annual Music Awards every time.

Bon Voyage is the

husband & wife team of Jason & Julie Martin.

Jason Martin (of Starflyer 59 fame) writes the songs and plays guitars & keyboards, and Julie Martin sings.

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This page was first posted March 21, 2010. A new hit counter added July 15, 2012. Before the reset, this page had 127 hits.

The pictures above are from Tooth & Nail’s Flickr page for Bon Voyage. I was not able to find a group shot of Bon Voyage.

Click the Play button  to listen to “Diary” from the album Lies. ->>