The truth, long denied by the Trema’s management, is that the punctuation mark split up, citing that oft-used reason, “artistic differences”. The left dot of the trema, it is believed, had wanted to continue being a diacritic, and was content to sit atop vowels, letting people know that the sounds of the letter is pronounced separately to that of the preceding vowel. The right hand dot had other ideas, however, and broke up the partnership to pursue a career in music.
Several decades in the making, The Right Trema has finally released its first album, Freedom 2008, on Glottal Stop Records. With production from Timbaland (who guests on several of the tracks), the album is a polished, well written affair with some excellent stand-out tracks.
‘U Got Me High’, a duet with Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls, is one such highlight. Slow and sexy with Timbaland’s trademark syncopated beats, the passion on show from the two singers will really make you believe that a human female could fall in love with a punctuation mark. The faster party sound of forthcoming single ‘(Everybody) Get Jumpin’’ should make it a hit in the clubs, and the electro-influenced cover of Talking Heads’ ‘And She Was’ is piece of pure pop genius that almost (almost!) improves on the original.
What lets Freedom 2008 down, however, are the tracks on which The Right Trema seems to be fixated with his status as a small dot. These songs are typically aggressive, and show no small amount of insecurity on the part of the singer. Take ‘Song for Warner’, a diss to the record label who initially refused him. The chorus, “Warner lost out by refusing me/Bitches in the office sad at losing me/Motherfuckers don’t know what I’m all about/Don’t call me no motherfuckin’ umlaut” sounds as bad in song as it does on paper. (One could say that it's as derivative as the mathematical function that uses tremas when written out by Newton.)
It’s sad that The Right Trema should have such a chip on his shoulder when the rest of his music is so good. As he stated in a recent Rolling Stone interview, if someone like Paris Hilton or Heidi Montag can release music, why can’t a tiny limbless dot with no mouth or internal functions do the same? Maybe when he is accepted by the music industry he’ll be able to released a more consistent album.
Incidentally, fans of The Right Trema may be interested to know that he has buried the hatchet with his old partner, Lefty (who has spent the last few decades working as a tittle, the dot on a lowercase letter ‘I’), and they are making plans to collaborate on a new project, the word ‘naïve’.
Freedom 2008 by The Right Trema will be released March 10th on Glottal Stop Records. A special edition microdot copy will be available from the company’s website.