Christine and the Queens - Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) Music Album Reviews

Christine and the Queens - Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) Music Album Reviews
Written almost entirely in French, the Parisian artist’s quietly imaginative new album pursues a sonic and lyrical interiority that doesn’t always translate to great pop.

The conceptual territory of Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue), the latest Christine and the Queens album, starts with the Bible, with the story of the Archangel Michael and his quest for dragons and meaning. Then it goes mid-century. Here’s Gena Rowlands in the John Cassavetes film Opening Night, seeing ghosts, lighting up a smoke in a robe. Then it goes into the real and explicitly autobiographical, exploring the grief of losing a parent, the realization that you’re trans, and the refusal to conform to anyone’s expectations about what that looks like. The artist now goes by Redcar, a new name that comes from something like an omen: After his mother’s death, he kept seeing red cars over and over and over again. 

That’s a lot of ground to cover in just under an hour of music. And for his entire career, Redcar has made pop that is both effervescent and conceptually rich. The electric, dazzling, Madonna-esque jams of 2018’s Chris made you want to dance on top of the FAO Schwarz piano in glittery loafers. La vita nuova, an EP from 2020, was chilled out, introspective, dreamy, drawing on a Dante Alighieri text of the same name as its conceptual underpinning. There’s a lot that’s captivating on paper about this latest high-concept pop album, one that’s thorny and invested in both sonic and lyrical interiority. It is a quiet record, written almost entirely in French, more interested in intimacy and honesty than in being accessible to English-language audiences. It’s also littered with images of angels, rebirth, and living your life anti-mimetically. All of that is really exciting. But things don’t fully mesh. Some of that interiority feels tedious, and that conceptual rigor comes across almost flat. 

Redcar les adorables étoiles was mixed by producer Mike Dean, who has worked with Beyoncé and Frank Ocean on their best records. Dean is a fitting creative partner for Redcar, who has seemed on the verge of becoming a pop star for a few years now. His influence on the record is subtle, and Redcar is at his best when he’s at his loosest, musing and free-associating. Like on “Ma bien aimée bye-bye,” where crystalline production lends itself to walls of synths and a looped guitar line. Meanwhile, Redcar sings about a beloved, a wife, and being together until they die. He sounds like he’s sulking over a cigarette and a whiskey on the rocks. Or on “Mémoire des ailes,” where the synths grow brighter, dipping into the territory of Soft Cell B-sides and spoken interludes. “Come on, stay outside, let’s play a game I’ll teach you,” he sings like a mantra, a rare English interlude. 

But much of the rest of the record feels indistinct, so cohesive it’s almost homogenous. And none of it really captures that purported conceptual richness. “Je te vois enfin,” the album’s lead single and hypothetically biggest track, feels generic. Against big synth hooks and strobing drum machines, Redcar snarls about questing for a woman by a stream (that’s not figurative: “Elle m’attendait près du ruisseau pour me parler,” he sings, which translates to something like “She was waiting by the stream to speak with me”). It should be electrifying. It has all the parts of a song that should make you want to dance, but it is weirdly monotonous. On “Tu sais ce qu’il me faut,” we hear him lapse into guttural shrieks over a smoky arpeggiated synth. It’s more cabaret than avant-garde pop, and while cabaret can be fun and fertile territory for experimentation, the song just sounds kind of unfinished. 

Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) is a transitional album. It’s in the title: Redcar is a prologue to a bigger record, also made with Dean and set to arrive next year. Hardly surprising, then, that it is intended to be softer, more understated, a preliminary introduction of new material to be fully realized at a later date. But Redcar is an artist who treats all of his records as art objects that demand equal weight and respect. And in his earlier work, even the most subdued songs glow with possibility. Redcar, on the other hand, is a frustrating listen from a brilliantly talented artist. For all of its angels and prophecies and mid-century decadence, what we are left with is a very quiet collection of songs with all the weight of ephemera.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Christine and the Queens - Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) Music Album Reviews Christine and the Queens - Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 03, 2022 Rating: 5


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