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Remy Shand
[ the way i feel ]


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The Way I Feel - Click to view! The number of tall, lanky white males on Motown Records' roster is roughly equivalent to the number of black guys in the NHL. There simply aren't that many. But to discredit Remy Shand, a tall, gangly, Caucasian from the heart of Winnipeg, Manitoba (that's in Canada) because of his race or nationality (a little-known fact: Canadians can groove too) is to miss out on some truly great music. Perhaps some of the best "old school" soul on the market today.

Renaissance Man
Before one even opens the CD (which is brilliantly packaged, with ultra-glossy liner notes and a special mini-CD insert that includes one full song and "snippets" of others from the album), it becomes very clear that this album is the brainchild of one man. "Written, produced, arranged, performed, and mixed by Remy," reads the jacket. Shand is very much in control of his own musical destiny. If the album flops, there's really no one to blame but himself. Thankfully, it doesn't.

Shand plays everything from a Wurlitzer and other assorted pianos, to saxophones, and does all of the backing vocals himself. The most notable album contributor not named Remy Shand is hairstylist Alberto Guzman.

The Way I Feel opens with the title track, a passionate love song (most songs on this album are) in which the singer expresses his feelings to his partner: "Woke up and I got the feeling/Nobody's gonna make it easy...Your love is enough to feed me/held up for another evening." The song can be interpreted as being suggestive, but seems innocent and free of sexual overtones on the whole.

Next is "Burning Bridges," in which Shand attempts to leave an old flame behind and move on with his life ("Woman, please release me from your hold tonight...I know it hurts a lot/But I gave what I got/Now I'll be on my way"). One obscure line seems to question the reality of a judgement day, but is more likely a reference to the depth of his love for the woman mentioned in this song, and the unconditional nature of that love ("In so deep there ain't no judgement day/If there was I think I'd be okay").

"Everlasting" follows, which seems directed at God. Shand, in falsetto, sings, "Divine emotion, the sanctified and true/Oh what's worth saving if you're not feelin' it too...if you're fadin' with devotion, you know it's never too late."

"The Second One" is next, a Marvin Gaye/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson-ish tune in which Shand rebukes an acquaintance and refuses to go down the same path as he: "Lost and lonely ain't no dream."

The next track worthy of mention is "Take a Message," the crown jewel of this album and the song you've most likely heard if you listen to Top 40 secular radio.

The only apparent moral gaffe on The Way I Feel is found in "I Met Your Mercy," when Shand sings, "I met your mercy/When you turned me on." Save for the examples stated here and above, this record is spotless.

If there's one thing to complain about with this album, it's that Shand is blatantly reminiscent of his forebears—Gaye, Wonder, et. al. And several of the songs are superficially similar (the vocal tracks can seem nearly homologous). But the album on the whole is very appealing. It's not for everyone (Shand has the look and feel of an open-mic-at-the-coffee-shop legend/polished star hybrid), but is definitely something different. And definitely worth your while.
- Ben Forrest
May 29, 2002
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