Sunday, November 19, 2006

So this is Christmas! Five weeks and counting…

Welcome to Christmas and a music industry hiatus! It is seemingly inevitable - almost any artist who is worth anything avoids releases during the second half of November and all of December. It is the season to be jolly disappointed and it merely provides a parade of 'greatest hits' and truly dire 'seasonal compilations'.
Perhaps it is now time to drop hints about all those albums that you have wanted but never quite managed to acquire during the last year, or even just to listen properly to those you did get but then failed to pay enough attention to because of a lack of time; it cannot be said that 2006 has been remotely short of noteworthy albums.

The weekend papers are hotly debating the merits, or otherwise, of his very recent solo album (I haven't heard it so I can't comment) but he has without doubt been busy this year.
The former Pulp songwriter (and lead singer) Jarvis Cocker has joined forces with Neil Hannon (ditto and formerly of Northern Irish band The Divine Comedy) to write lyrics for music composed by French electro-traditionalist duo Air. It is true that Pulp, and even more so The Divine Comedy, were surprisingly popular bands in France, but would the album be any good and, importantly, who would do the vocals?

The answer to the first question is yes - the songs themselves are good, very good in fact - and 5:55 is also a surprising album: the lyrics are sung or sometimes barely more than spoken by Charlotte Gainsbourg but always perfectly match the accompaniment or more likely vice versa.

For far too long French 'pop music' has been something of a standing joke. While the above album is almost entirely sung in English, if you like it I suggest that you listen to 'Camille - Le Fil'. It is sung almost entirely in French and is another real highlight of 2006!

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