A renowned DJ by the young age of 17, David Guetta was spinning tracks from Funkadelic and Prelude in French gay clubs in the late ’80s while mixing and scratching with legends like Louie Vega, David Morales, and Roger Sanchez. By 1988, Guetta introduced acid house to the French club land and influenced a new generation of electronic/dance pioneers such as Daft Punk and Cassius.
In the late ’90s, Daft Punk and Cassius released their own distinct fusion of Guetta-inspired garage and progressive house on Homework and 1999, respectively. These artists helped mold Guetta’s sound into what is now well known as French house music. They did this while Guetta himself remained relatively unknown outside of the underground electronic club circuit. Now the Godfather of French House explodes onto our shores with Just A Little More Love, his first US release.
Just A Little More Love showcases old school Chicago house, techno, garage, and even hints freestyle. You can hear it on the title track, sung with such vigor by American gospel singer, Chris Willis. The thumping bassline and the climatic distorted synthesizers set the mood: you’re in a French club at dawn dancing your ass off. Guetta’s Just A Little More Love is a consistent album to keep your body rockin’.
“Love Don’t Let Me Go” is a genuine dance floor burner and although Willis’s vocals often reach towards the kinetic sounds of HiNRG, it is brief enough to withstand even on headphones. On “Give Me Something (Deep in My Heart)”, singer Barbara Tucker channels house disco with self-assured panache. The deep house grooves of “Can’t U Feel the Change” and “It’s Alright (Preaching Paris)”, display an immediate resemblance to the space ball, animated-progressive house of Daft Punk. But it’s the incredible electro-funk of “Sexy 17” that’s both the highlight and the best track on Just A Little More Love. “Sexy 17” is the song that both Prince and Daft Punk wish they had under their catalogues. It oozes with such electro-infused sensuality.
Guetta does have a notable misstep on Just A Little More Love, notably the unvaried cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”, aptly titled “Just for One Day.” The song sounds out of place especially after solid tracks like “Love Don’t Let Me Go” and “Sexy 17”. The reason why it sounds so out of place is that “Just for One Day” is Bowie’s original tune only with additional driving techno beats. Perhaps, we should thank Guetta for not using The Wallflowers’ version, phew.
But Guetta redeems himself with two back-to-back experimental house tracks, “133” and “Distortion”. The latter track thrives on fuzzed out baselines and monotonous synthesizers and of course, Chris Willis’s vocals. And truly it is Willis’s voice that makes Just A Little More Love enjoyable. Willis gives Guetta’s music an added dimension of emotion. It’s his soulful “You Are the Music”, the longest track on the album, which comes closest to stripping Guetta of his club disposition and leans towards true gospel. I would love to hear a stripped down, gospel version of “You Are the Music”, with Willis singing “You are the reason I believe / You are the season / You are the blessing I receive / You are the answer / The inspiration / Running like a million rivers over me.”
The original electro version of “Just A Little More Love” closes the album. This slower, version displays a hint of that freestyle, R&B sound via Willis’s distinguished voice. It is important to note that although this is Guetta’s first US debut, Just A Little More Love was originally released in Europe back in 2002. Word on the street is that this US incarnation is not as good as the original as the majority of the tracks are remixed versions. Also this US version of Just A Little More Love has a different track listing and omits the track “Atomic Food”. But even if that’s the case, there are enough superb remixed tracks on Just A Little More Love that the issue can be overlooked.