Youssou N’Dour, Eyes Open

Keith Harris

By Keith Harris

on 09.07.11 in Reviews

Eyes Open

Youssou N'Dour
Hitting a groove he sounds capable of riding for years

N’Dour’s reliance on call-and-response, on vocal interjections echoed by horns or synth or tama breaks, flirts with cliché. And he’s not above enlisting corny sound effects to make his point: The opener, “New Africa,” begins with a beeping alarm and ends with a jet takeoff. But his delivery is so authoritative, his arrangements so dynamic, that these songs convey the hortatory vigor that he intends. Eyes Open lacks Set‘s exhilarating sense of an artist’s ideas finally coalescing, but compensates with the reassuring confidence of an artist hitting a groove he sounds capable of riding for years.