This week's international hit artist is Bob Sinclar. Now there's a four-square, white picket fence name, at least to us over here Stateside. Yet search the usual music retail downloading suspects in America for one Bob Sinclar, and you won't find anything, not even my fantasy of who a Bob Sinclar should be — an amiable granite-jawed country dude in a Stetson and cowboy boots.
That's because Bob Sinclar is actually the intriguingly American-sounding (to the Europeans, anyway) stage name of Christophe Le Friant, a Franco-Italian house DJ and producer, whose "A Far L'Amore" is at number fifteen after sixty-two weeks in the Spanish charts. It seems that even the real allure of the fake exotic doesn't mean you can beat international retail boundaries.
With his romantically tumbling locks, the real Bob Sinclar would look exotic anywhere. Russell Brand should star in his biopic. On his posters, Sinclar poses naked, arm extended just like Michaelangelo's Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, looking right at home in the celestial V.I.P area. More than many in a generally extrovert calling, Bob Sinclar proudly represents the DJ as Dance God.
His whimsically perky dance grooves have scored him over twenty years of hits, he's a fixture at the global Pacha dance brand headquartered in Ibiza and he's jammed with Jamaican reggae riddims and Nigerian drums. But Bob Sinclar sealed his sound-of-this-summer in Spain status by re-inventing "A Far L'Amore Comincia Tu," a 1977 Euro-disco "vaycay" hit with youthful associations of melted ice-cream trickling down sun-tanned beach torsos and Mediterranean teenage lust. Cunningly, Bob Sinclar knew just which musical sense memory buttons to stroke for the Euro market, and downloads and dancefloors duly exploded.
The sampled artist is veteran singer, dancer and TV personality Rafaella Carra, who's a pan-European person just like Bob Sinclar. A product of the variety TV circuit, the vivacious young La Carra, born in Bologna, would probably have held a seat in the Italian government had Berlusconi been in power in her heyday. Archival video shows La Carra deliver "A Far L'Amore Comincia Tu" as a sultry seduction; she slinks round a TV set, all samba-sensuous in her skintight shiny black catsuit with mermaid flares. Even Eurodisco cynics should see the appeal as La Carra hums the alluring hook like a caress.
Bob Sinclar's bouncy, energetic update keeps the hook and adds its own jaunty synth refrain. While the song speeds along like the original on steroids, the video also ups the erotic ante. The contemporary answer to La Carra's '70s free-expression dance is a glamorous party with ambisexual suggestions of Fellini's la dolce vita, 2011 style. Still, though it may be more brazen than La Carra's original, in contrast to the gynaecological gyrations of some hip-hop videos, the debauchery here is subtly, sensually suggested — and none the less sexy for that.
In an appealingly downbeat plot, while teen supermodels at the party hunt the AWOL Bob Sinclar, a cab driver gets the great DJ and his stylish date lost in Milan. When they reach their orgiastic soirée, it's all over. Yet as the handsome couple leaves to go home, Bob Sinclar's expression reads rather like relief.
Deflating his cultivated "international superstar" persona is a charming touch; lost in the late night city, the godly DJ is just like any happy schmuck running to make the last bus.