Christine and The Queens, ‘Chris’ – Review
by Bianca Rhodes
French artist Christine and the Queens pushes boundaries of pop one step further with her latest release ‘Chris’. Tackling problematic issues of gender and self-knowledge with profound humanity, she produces an elegant, powerful record with catchy, challenging sonorities.
Echoing of groovy 80s-like dance and funk sounds, yet with a distinctive, contemporary feeling, ‘Chris’ is an album to dance along to.
Never dull or flat, it keeps the listener eagerly tuned in as every track develops in its own way, yet building to a coherent whole. Tracks that stand out are the certainly funky single ‘Girlfriend’, the slower, tormented ‘The walker’ and the mellow toned ‘The stranger’.
Another element that strikes is the continuous back and forth between French and English: while the album has been released in both languages, neither version is free from cross-contamination. It answers, in its own way, to the apparent hegemony of Anglophone popular music, offering a valid compromise: it retains French as its main identifier, yet it gives the option of English.
Lyrically, Hélöise Letissier – the name behind the artist – builds a complex story of self-reflection and discovery. In opening ‘Comme si’, she asserts her identity with pride – ‘the thickness of a new skin / I am done with belonging’. A passionate lover rather than a friend, a strong voice rather than a feeble thought, her conscience – just like ours – is ever changing and fluctuating, and it reaches times of humane crisis: ‘my sense of self is wearing thin’.
An enjoyable, thrilling listen, sure to pierce your ears and get your feet tapping along.
‘La marcheuse’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CneMUoqpebo