A hair of breadth’s away/ From changing my mind/ Cause just when you thought/ I’d still be a little girl/ I’m one of the guys.
-“Half Ladies” by Christine and the Queens
I’ve been listening non-stop to Chaleur Humaine (English Human Warmth), the debut album of Christine and the Queens, because I think it is what the world really needs right now.
The election was an absurd experience. (another post on that coming later) And sadly, there are far more absurd things happening in this world:Charlie Hebdo, refugees,Nice, the Orlando shooting, minority groups being told that they are less, women being told that they shouldn’t be themselves. WE NEED HUMAN WARMTH. Someone to tell us that love is love is love is love is love, and that we will endure and prevail, because we’re going to huddle together and stay warm.
So yes, I’m obsessing over a French artist, which is uncommon. I heard about her from my French teacher, which is uncommon. Two days after I discovered her album, I have changed my desktop background to her photo, I follow her on Snapchat, on Instagram and watched every interview. Which is hella uncommon.
I am extremely late to the game. Chaleur Humaine was released two years ago, her English album came out last year, and this October she just held a concert at Toronto.
But the fact that Christine and the Queens is a huge mainstream pop star in France just never fails to restore my faith in humanity.
She is a solo artist with a band name. She’s an onstage persona created in a drag club in downtown London. She has a gender-fluid image usually dressed in androgynous two-piece tailored suits. She is a pop star that eschews the explicit femininity often found in pop music. A lot of her songs are anthems for the LGBT community and the outsiders in our society.
And she’s so beautiful, gah…
Listening to Christine blows your mind and clears your mind at the same time.
If you’re just looking for great music that serves as a good change from pop songs forever praising heartbreaks, hetero-sex and drugs, Christine’s music is perfect. Her synthpop is refreshing and pure genius. It makes me feel like I am floating in a sea of beats and wisps of electronic sounds. Then there’s her voice clear as ice, but firm with a pulsating warmth. Her lyrics are vague (especially with her French accent when she sings in English) but so intriguing.
I’m doing my face/ With magic marker/ I’m in my right place/ Don’t be a downer
If you’re looking for awesome mind-effing music videos, Christine’s dance moves (and her face of course) are amazing. She is so agile and so unself-conscious. She name-drops both Michael Jackson and Pina Bausch when talking about inspiration. In the Sainte Claude video, she dances alone in a crimson room, throws jazz hands and grabs her pelvis just like Michael Jackson.
If you’re looking for LGBT anthems and some awesome rainbow pride 🌈🌈 in the super conservative opposite-of-risky mainstream pop music sphere, you can find all that in Christine and the Queens. Her songs are about strength and non-conformity, and these themes are expressed in the most direct and effective ways.
Can’t help if we’re tilted.
🌟If you need a Christine crash course: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jan/07/christine-and-the-queens-soho-drag-club-to-french-superstardom-heloise-letissier