South African pop, dance act Justin Eglin is better known as Jmaxx at home. His latest release, Born To Be Famous, mixes pop, RMB, Kwaito, Hip-Hop and House similar in many ways to Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode.
Featuring a handful of originals and interesting cover tunes, Born to Be Famous is an odd album because the best cuts of this album would be a great addition to any club playlist, but at home, none of it lives up to the hype. With the exception of a wicked rap from J Walker on the Jmaxx cover of Brenda Fassie’s hit Weekend Special and a cool rework of Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner, there’s not much that transcends beyond the dance floor.
What makes this album even odder is the addition of some choice covers that simply don’t have that “something-something” that made the Pet Shop Boys reworkings so special. Take On Me is simply too fast as a house track and Living In A Box (recorded by Living In A Box) was simply a bad idea because of Eglin’s accent, which dominates as he sings the chorus “I’m living in a box.”
Jmaxx has the look, he can sing and the production is slightly better than the average dance album, but something is missing that keeps this album from being special. Although I enjoyed the dance mix of Tom’s Diner and J Walker’s rap, there might not be enough shining moments on Born To Be Famous to separate this album from other novelty albums.