Chris­tine & The Queens - Chris

Words Nick Levine

Gay Times Magazine - - REVIEW -

Chris­tine and the Queens’ de­but al­bum Chaleur Hu­maine was 2016’s big hip­ster hit, peak­ing at num­ber two in the UK after ir­re­sistible sin­gle Tilted tore up dis­cern­ing dance floors. Its most mem­o­rable lyric – “I’m do­ing my face with magic marker” – seemed to ac­knowl­edge the im­pact of Soho’s drag queens on the singer’s gen­der-fluid stage per­sona.

The fiercely tal­ented French­woman (whose real name is Héloïse Letissier) could have made this fol­low-up al­bum a more overtly main­stream af­fair, but in­stead she’s crafted an­other set of idio­syn­cratic and deeply sat­is­fy­ing dan­ce­pop.

Lead sin­gle Girl­friend is a sweet-and-sour elec­tro-funk gem which plays with ex­pected gen­der roles; Doesn’t Mat­ter welds dark ex­is­ten­tial lyrics to clas­sic Janet Jack­son-style beats; and Damn (What Must A Woman Do) of­fers a dance­able ex­pres­sion of fe­male rage.

But the al­bum’s stand­out track is stun­ning bal­lad What’s Her Face, on which Letissier con­fronts the teenage bul­ly­ing that still causes her to skip so­cial events now. “It’s been years since that play­ground,” she sings mourn­fully, still sounded haunted.

Con­sis­tently catchy and ap­peal­ingly spiky, this is an al­bum that pulses with lust, frus­tra­tion and a mus­cu­lar sense of pur­pose.

Im­age Jamie Mor­gan

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