Christine is back, and she's queerer than ever
"Her 23-track second album presents both a French and an English version of each and every song, as if to acknowledge both the roots which formed her and the future which lays ahead"
The representation of queer women in music is growing each day. For years, queer women have been systematically ignored and oppressed, within both the LGBTQ+ community and wider society. With the release of the new Christine And The Queens album, titled a simple and catchy Chris, the days in which queer women lacked representation are moving steadfastly behind us. Christine is back, and she's queerer than ever.
Christine And The Queens was formed in 2010 by Hélöise Letissier, hailing from France. Upon moving to London, Letissier met a group of drag queens in a bar in Soho, and Christine And The Queens was born. Chaleur Humaine, the debut album, was released in 2016, and to great public applaud. Following a performance on Jools Holland in November 2015, Letissier captured the gaze of music enthusiasts all over the world.
It's safe to say that the image of Christine And The Queens has become stronger since Chaleur Humaine was released two years ago. Letissier has been challenging and defying gender expectations from the very beginning, with queer suits and queer dance moves being important pieces of the Christine image.
Chris is a joy to listen to, from start to finish. It's a perfect encapsulation of how the Christine And The Queens project has grown since it began. Chris has become incredibly popular since the release of Chaleur Humaine, and, as a result, has a wide audience to appease. Her 23-track second album presents both a French and an English version of each and every song, as if to acknowledge both the roots which formed her and the future which lays ahead.
The album itself features a myriad of styles and topics, from the playful and upbeat Comme Si/Comme Si On S'aimait, to the beautifully mellow What's-her-face/Machin-chose. Chris is everything a great pop artist should be. I mean, what's not to love about gay, French, 80s-style pop?
Make Some Sense/Les Yeux Mouillés feels very Michael Jackson-esque. Paired with the same soft, heartfelt lyrics present in What's-her-face/Machin-chose, Letissier acknowledges the soft side of Chris which has always been present. Undoubtedly, big tracks like Girlfriend/Damn, Dis-moi, 5 Dollars/5 Dols, and Doesn't Matter (Voleur De Soleil) will become the hallmark of the Chris era. They'll be the Bad and the Dirty Diana of this album, and great though they are, the softer tracks are what truly elevate this art piece as something great.
A great artist produces tracks presenting a variety of musical styles, as well as emotions. Chris plays with nostalgia, sexuality, and identity. The Chris image, at this point, is incredibly diverse. We see lots of different versions of Chris: both a confident Chris, and a vulnerable one.
The queerness of the Christine And The Queens image has become even more apparent with the release of Chris. Prior to its release, videos for Girlfriend/Damn, Dis-moi, 5 Dollars/5 Dols, and Doesn't Matter (Voleur De Soleil). Each exudes queerness: 5 Dollars stands out as an artwork which takes the rulebook of gender and throws it completely out of the window. Letissier wears a three-piece suit, gloves, and sports a briefcase. The opening image is that of her doing press-ups. Kudos Chris, kudos.
Chris is an ode to personal growth. The Chris who stood on the stage of Jools Holland almost three years ago is a million miles away from the Chris who now stands before us. In an interview with Colin Solal Cardo for a Youtube Music event, Letissier described the Chris presented in the music video for Girlfriend as a new character, more sexual and more masculine in nature. Chris marks the beginning of a new era for Christine And The Queens.
Chris is out now and available here
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