Likely I’m the only person in the world who’s never actively listened to Christine And The Queens, but reviewing this album I find there’s something very intriguing to Christine’s sound, and I’m enjoying it a great deal.
In my title I said Christine – real name Hélöise Letissier – channels Janet Jackson and Prince, as well as Nile Rodgers’ Chic (and indeed, Nile Rodgers and Daft Punk), but there’s a whole lot more there. There’s Lana Del Rey, there’s Bowie, there’s Bjork, there’s Dido – there’s even Edith Piaf, to pay homage to Letissier’s home country of France.
There’s no doubt about it, Christine And The Queens is very very French. Chris makes no attempt to cover up the French accent, which is quite sensual and beautiful. There’s a real disco vibe to the album, and track 3, ‘The walker’ comes into its own with this feeling. Christine has been compared to Michael Jackson, but I’m not entirely sure this is the case. ‘Chris’ is most definitely a pop album, but it’s eccentric pop, it really transcends all definition and genre. And I guess this is where I’m coming from when I draw comparisons to all those artists I’ve already mentioned. Pretty much everyone of those is known for their ambiguity, their panache, their mystery. Indeed, Christine And The Queens, now restyled as Chris, to whom we’re introduced in track two, ‘Girlfriend’, featuring Dâm-Funk, is very mysterious.
First album, ‘Chaleur Humaine’, released in France in 2014 and then re-released in 2015 in English, told the story of Hélöise, who disillusioned with her theatre studies in France, visited London where she discovered the work of local drag queen musicians. She reinvented herself as “Christine” and the drag artists who often accompanied her at her concerts, became her backing group, “The Queens”.
‘Chris’ is a multi-lingual album, featuring French, English, and at times Spanish, and was in fact recorded in both French and English at the same time. The songwriting is intimate and immaculate; there’s a lot of sex and sensuality to the lyrics, yet there’s something very alien and amorphous to the album as a whole, which we liked a lot. If you enjoy your music to be ambiguous and your artists to be ever so slightly confusing and downright challenging of every norm you’ve ever held dear, then ‘Chris’ from Christine And The Queens is for you.
‘Chris’ was released on September 21. Christine And The Queens are touring the UK and Ireland in November. Tickets and further information are available here.
17 November – Bournemouth – BIC
20 November – London – Eventim Apollo – SOLD OUT
21 November – London – Eventim Apollo – SOLD OUT
23 November – Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall
24 November – Edinburgh – Usher Hall
26 November – Birmingham – O2 Academy
27 November – Manchester – O2 Apollo – SOLD OUT
28 November – Manchester – O2 Apollo
30 November – Dublin – RDS
Find out more about Christine And The Queens online on their official website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. ‘Chris’ is available to stream and download from Deezer, Spotify, and iTunes. Buy the album and download from Amazon.