If you know your shit, you’ll probably have heard the majority of Christine and The Queens‘ debut album. Mainly because it’s been kicking around in a different form in Europe for quite some time, but now with a US release pending it feels like it’s properly time to lay out the red carpet for some new pop royalty.
We say pop, but for some reason that term feels a bit reductive for the work of Héloïse Letissier. Opening with iT is the perfect example why, given it’s one of the year’s best songs for so many reasons. It’s a hugely intelligent jam on gender discussion – “I’m a man now,” she sings, while a whisper behind her says “she lies, she lies” – one of those songs an entire thesis could be written about. For all her confidence about stating she’s a man, never has a woman seemed more formidable.
With the powerful also goes the doleful, as recent single No Harm Is Done is a beautifully realised admission of a failed relationship. Elsewhere she teams with fellow outsider Perfume Genius for a gorgeous ballad, Jonathan, an elegiac and bilingual back and forth that bores into the soul.
If this all sounds too worthy for casual listening, it really isn’t – the zippy beats of Science Fiction are up there with the tremendously catchy Narcissus Is Back, while Paradis Perdus is the most inventive take on Kanye‘s Heartless you ever did hear. And the most joyous part? Like the queens she feels a part of, Letissier carves out a place in pop without ever abandoning her own vision and identity. For that, and the unfettered charisma of Christine, we should all kneel in front of something truly regal.
Christine and the Queens by Christine and the Queens can be ordered here.