Review Summary: A warm album for the cold winter days...
What would you do if you were a bored-to-death teenager in Canada that was meant to be a classical pianist just like your mother, but you didn't like classical music at all? Chances are you'd go out and indulge yourself in the many forbidden pleasures that life has to offer. Enter Béatrice Martin aka Coeur de Pirate, who did just that. After she got tired of playing the keyboard in her first (post-hardcore) band she sought to broaden her horizons... by living on the streets. After she enjoyed her teenage hood by going to obscure hardcore punk concerts, getting a few tattoos and posing for a shady nude internet magazine she decided that all she really wanted to make something out of her life by pursuing a career in music. Her newly acquired urge for making music gave us her 2008 self-titled debut album, a pretty good indie pop offering that revealed only a small fraction of her actual artistic potential. Now, miss Martin probably wouldn't have survived on the streets if it weren't for her ability to adapt to any situation and that is exactly what Blonde
is all about. She pretty much took everything that was good about her debut and shifted it around to fit her life story. That, coupled with her strong improvement as a songwriter and musician should at least have made this an interesting album to listen to.
As the album opens up with the tranquil 'Lève les voiles', a simple lead-in by some choir you obviously don't care about, will immediately make you feel at home, a feeling that is, for me, quite common with well-executed indie albums. As the listening session is continuing its way, the heir apparent to the aforementioned feeling of "domestic" comfort, is a wave of pure enthusiasm, which stems from the "pop" part of the album and namely, tracks like the instrumental "Adieu" or songs like "Golden Baby" or "Verseau".One of the obvious strengths of this album is Béatrice's knack for blending genres together into a seemingly flawless mix and maintaining an excellent flow throughout her material. From the more jazzy approach of 'Danse et Danse', the soothing country influences in 'Loin d'ici' and the purely piano-driven 'Cap Diamant' to the sweet violins on 'Les Amours Dévouées', everything on this album blends together so well that not loving it becomes pretty much impossible. Couple any of these musical approaches with Béatrice's amazing vocals and you've got yourself a killer album.
While the songs in Blonde have a distinct personality of their own with the indie genre, some of them and especially "Les Amours Devouées", may be linked to Béatrice Martin's other project, Armistice It seems that she simply borrowed Mariachi El Bronx's (Armistice's rhythmic section) catchy-ness and pure fun factor. I can't say that's a bad thing though as it really does give the album as a whole a lot more replay value.
No matter how lovely, charming or whatever adjective one would want to grace this album with, its lyrical content is worthy of an honorable mention as well. As cheerful as this album may sound musically, so sad and angry are the words that come along with it. A song like 'Ava' which tells the sad story of a prostitute Béatrice met on one of her many 'trips' during her teenage life, or 'Adieu' which is pretty much one big sneer towards her ex-boyfriends. It's a bit like Adele's 21
but with a lot more punch. Of course, songs like 'Danse et Danse' and 'Golden Baby' are what they are, pretty pop songs without the heavy lyricism of some of the other songs. Lastly there's also the absolute high point of the album: 'Place de la République' which, in its own right, might just be the best pop song of the year. It's like the ultimate mix of sad and happy, and it managed to melt my icy heart like it was no-one's business. Quite the achievement indeed.
certain eagerness for fulfillment coupled with great, captivating songwriting make it an indie pop force to be reckoned with. The lyrics are really moving and filled with strong hooks that make Béatrice's story all the more interesting and powerful. If you have a heart then you probably will enjoy this. So, my advice is to get this and hear her out, you might be surprised what it could make you feel like...