steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Donovan Kovar

"A Deeper Love" CD

Ravok Records

Genres: rock/pop, soft rock

Feb 9 - 15 2004

I read the letter accompanying Donovan Kovar's A Deeper Love and my mouth watered at the possibility of another shockingly bad album to tear apart. It had all the perfect credentials: The CD sleeve was some sort of dreadful yellow/red fractal arrangement; the title of the CD itself was the ubiquitous cliché "A Deeper Love", and best of all, Kovar bragged in his letter that he and his music had been featured on such hit television shows like The Young and the Restless. Yes, The Young and the Restless, the profound socio-microcosm compacted into a daytime half-hour, watched by elderly soap opera addicts. And so it was that I was disappointed in the listening.

I was disappointed, but only slightly. There wasn't anything blatantly evident to tear apart when I first listened. No noticeable void of melody, rhythm, technical ability. Hey, even the songwriting was somewhat tolerable: "Emotional Ray Bans" and "Unconditional Love" among the titles and lines that weren't especially poetic or deep but at least rhymed correctly. Despite popular opinion, songs really can get much worse than that: cliché, meaningless, simple words thrown together with a few pauses and line breaks to make it seem poetic. In the midst of all this rubbish trying to pass itself off as songwriting, there's something refreshing to be seen in the simple presence of a simple, well-constructed rhyme to catch our attentions.

However, Kovar's album is marked by just that. The entire thing is nothing but simple and well-constructed. The technical ability given on the singing and playing is fine. There's no showcasing of anything out of the ordinary because there is nothing out of the ordinary. Kovar's first track, "Think My Own Way", is pretty ironic in that sense; as the entire album is very musically traditional. Factory-synthesized programming in the background just like everything else generic these days, a lyric booklet with lyrics not worth reading (It's all I can do to survive/But when the moment breaks away/I'm taken by these feelings inside), bland 4/4 rhythm in every single moment of the album, and the same voice that we've all probably got are what define Kovar's album.

As much as I've said before that so and so element of the album captures the essence of the whole thing, I think I mean it most when I mention Kovar's sense of melody. Like the aforementioned rhymes in his lyrics, Kovar seems to have something else that everybody else seemed to overlook: a melody. Indeed, each and every song carries an audible melody. The melody often defines the song, something that we've perhaps forgotten. It's like the kind of thing we'd find catchy if we hadn't been beaten to death with it every other day of our lives. And perhaps that's why music these days is abandoning the generic sense of rhythm, rhyme and melody and trying to express itself through other, unforeseen means: it's been over and done with. Last lines should always be melodramatic and romantic, so here goes. With A Deeper Love, Donovan Kovar illustrates that he is the last of a dying breed: the ancient race of music traditionalists who somehow seem to perpetuate themselves. That was lousy. And now it's not even the last line. Damn.


Fun Fact: Donovan Kovar's album is put out by Ravok Records! That's "Kovar" backwards! ASTOUNDING!

Engelbert K. Mutton

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]