MUSIC TO DOWNLOAD THIS WEEK
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS — CHRIS
One of the most exciting musicians on the Euro pop scene, French muso Christine and the Queens (real name Héloïse Letissier) returns with a follow-up to 2014’s magnificent fulllength debut Chaleur Humaine.
While Letissier had a touch of androgyny in her Humaine days, this time she gives outdated ideas about gender a hard kick in the groin as she introduces us to her alter ego’s gender-bending alter ego, Chris. (Christine is already her alter-ego, Chris is the alter’s alter).
She’s cut her previously shoulderlength hair much shorter, she dresses like Streetcar Brando mixed with a matador, she’s singing about sex (both gender and shagging) and sexuality (both orientation and pleasure).
Letissier says to the Guardian:
"I’m playing around with the male gaze and confusing heterosexual dudes who say stuff [about how I look] like: ‘I’m excited ... but I’m angry!’ I love the scam of a macho man. I wrote this record because I wanted to address the taboo of a woman being blunt and forward.”
Yes, yes, but what about the tunes? They’re mostly catchy, the overwhelming majority are pretty darn good and they are more influenced by ’90s Michael Jackson (and even Janet) than Françoise Hardy or any French chanteuse.
There isn’t a single mood that dominates the album: some tracks are bold, others muted (not boring), sometimes she doesn’t give a f**k, other times she’s insecure, one moment she’s singing about sleeping with everyone, the next she’s indulging her suicidal thoughts ...
At 23 tracks, Chris is twice the length of its predecessor — Letissier has no interest in following the seven-track album trend of this year. Some of the tracks are simply French versions of the English tracks, but some of it feels unnecessary.
As she tells Apple Music: “Pop music is so much recently about trying to simplify narratives, and I was trying to complexify mine.”