Christine and the Queens: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Christine and the Queens: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Performing under the musical and artistic project Christine and the Queens, Héloïse Letissier is already a huge star in her native France.

Filling stadiums, topping the charts and recognized as Best Female Artist at the 2015 Victoires de la Musique (the French equivalent to the Grammys), her blend of French chanson, electro-pop and R&B has led her to be hailed as a national Pop Queen, along with garnering early love from celebs like Madonna, Mark Ronson, Carly Rae Jepsen and Lorde.

Now, with the recently released self-titled LP – her first written and sung entirely in English – Christine and the Queens are beginning to break big overseas.

We had Héloïse Letissier write about five albums that changed her life.

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Lou Reed: Berlin

This album is one of my favorite movies, ever. Uncompromising, sad and cruel, with Lou Reed as a narrator – his voice is for me the one that articulate your thoughts, your secrets. This album is a threat because it is desperate, but it has this appeal, this grip – once you listened to it, something changes.

 

Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I remember being in shock after the first time I listened to it. This album is a monster, a hydra – a hundred voices, a cathedral of sounds, and in the middle of all this excess, one broken, angry man. It goes everywhere without losing its narrative once. It’s comic, tragic, witty and vulnerable; and you feel like diving into an upset but brilliant mind. I listened to it way too much, and now I go back to it regularly, just to realize that it doesn’t age a bit. This was the future.

 

Christophe: Aimer ce que nous sommes

Again, this album is like the transcription of a roaming train of thoughts – the songs are melting, voices come and go, stories are unfinished and memories become poetry. Christophe has one of the most beautiful voices on earth – golden, fragile, genderless – and he continues to be a daring visionary.

 

Joe Jackson: Night and Day

I grew up with this album – loved it since I was a little kid. It’s generous, open to new sounds and cultures, sometimes really funny, sometimes heartbreaking (the song “Real Men” is a masterpiece). It’s playful and feverish, and I always liked Joe Jackson as a character – close to his audience, not your typical pop star, but more like a passionate musician who got to take the mic to make the most of it.

 

Serge Gainsbourg: Love on the Beat

This album is seen in France as “weak material” from the one who is worshipped for “Melody Nelson”. But for me, it’s a gem. It’s rough, it’s obscene, and something in it is absolutely wonderful: it’s rap before rap, it’s porn before porn was cool, it’s queer before queer was a thing, and it comes from someone who was respected as a master of the “chanson française.” Honestly, I haven’t heard any French man talk about back rooms with such uncompromising poetry since then.

[Top photo by: Jeff Hahn]

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