On her second album Chris, Héloïse Letissier displays her truest form, the femme fatale of the pop genre with elegance and poise in abundance. She is an absolute star and has to be honoured as one of pop music’s true shining lights after this compelling, powerful listen. Christine & The Queens is a form of expression for Héloïse, and this sophomore album is her magnum opus; an incredible insight into the world of an eccentric popstar.
*DISCLAIMER: I cannot comment on the French version of this album as I do not speak the language*
Christine & The Queens is the professional performance name of French singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier, an abstract and divergent act who has never been one to shy away from embracing your true self. Her debut album chaleur humaine was originally released in France in 2014 before being re-issued in America and the UK in 2015 & 2016 respectively. The album received huge acclaim for it’s daring spirit and free-will, and as of today it has sold almost a million copies worldwide.
What sticks out to me straight away when hearing Chris, the eagerly anticipated follow-up album, is the level of artistic maturity Letissier shows; offering more punchy and direct lyricism than the predecessor. The songwriting is as deft and sweet as it is sexual and flashy, oozing confidence and empowerment from start to finish. Whether it be the harrowing tales of domestic violence on The Walker, or the insatiable lust-driven pop ballad Girlfriend; this album puts its point across in the most poignant ways imaginable.
The album feels like a systematic portrayal of the protagonist’s inner psyche, stating that vulnerability and infirmity are as common as feeling voluptuous and stimulating. Perhaps Chris’ greatest asset is just how accessibly pop it appears on the surface; offering glitzy, glamorous production and catchy melodies for a groovy sonic experience, while conquering so many challenging concepts in her lyrics. Letissier uses her progressive nature to implement her vision as a modern day enigma of the music industry on here, developing from frustration at a lack of acceptance to the unapologetic artistic powerhouse she becomes on Chris.
Normally on a review I will discuss the singles that came out prior to release, particularly in pop music, but this album has a unique blend where literally every song is good enough to be a single. 5 Dollars became the second single for its angelic piano keys and wondrous harmonies, but equally as tasteful a sound is the project opener Comme si with its majestic 80s style synth bop sound; or the bouncy electro-pop anthem Feel so good. There are so many strings to the bow of this album, it boasts an essential pop sound while also demonstrating cultural importance.
The album isn’t perfect, it has one or two tiny rough edges but that would be me being very nit-picky. All in all it is a celebration of being different in a structured society, discussing toxic masculinity, queer culture and lustful desire on one of the most blissful albums of the year. As far as pop music, Christine & The Queens is right up at the top of the bracket; she is continually announcing herself as an innovator of the genre. With this album, you can get introspective about your societal form as well as dancing around to impossibly captivating production. Merci Mademoiselle, and Bravo!