Christine and the Queens Find Better ‘Angels’ with Producer Mike Dean

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Every album in the synth-pop arsenal of Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier, also known as the French vocalist-composer Christine and the Queens – he often uses a delicious brand of drama to match his bold words. Yet it was only with the release of “Paranoïa, Angels, True Love” this weekend that Chris (as he chooses to be known) went the extra mile in his decade-old music-making journey, and his melancholy piece found true theater in his kindness. playwright Tony Kushner’s iconic HIV-AIDS lament was inspired by “Angels in America.”

Calling his major new work “a heartwarming transformation, a prayer for himself” and “a rest in true love,” Chris opened his mind to Kushner’s intelligent, tortured soul and the often closed self of their Queen. Madonna, 070 Shake and Mike DeanCo-producer of “Paranoia, Angels, True Love”.

Chris and Dean were sharing a Los Angeles studio for an afternoon of multimedia work while riding Zoom to talk. VariationA message from Mike asking (ask) to work together, the singer said, noting that their recent collaboration started as a “grace”. I was shocked and couldn’t believe this could happen. I already loved all of his choices: how he mixed the music, the textures, how he produced it. It was exciting that Mike wanted to go on a musical journey with me… We bonded like two sprinters running towards the same goal.”

Known for a production roster that included The Weeknd, Beyoncé, and Kanye West, Dean says he fell in love with Christine and Queens’ music thanks to his girlfriend, Louise. in a separate interview. He also became a producer enough to make the producer curious enough to reach out to the French singer. “During the pandemic, she sneaked into the United States via Mexico and began her journey with me,” Dean says. “What really drove me to make music with him was the difficulty of matching the emotion of what was going on with Chris’ lyrics that were partly in English and partly in French.”

Devastated by the death of his mother in 2019 and set to create the solitary but exuberant “Redcar Les Adorables Étoiles” following her death, Chris sought a wider brand of mournful communication for his next work: a three-part song package consisting of 20 separate tracks. this would expand his synth-pop melodies to truly operatic proportions (“all while remaining melodic”) and his lyrics to something equally moving yet universal.

Dean interrupted and reminded Variation Most of “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” was recorded before “Redcar” but was released later because “Chris’s opera was a bit too much, so ‘Redcar’ was a smaller bridge.” To this, Chris added that “Redcar” truly brought out the power of theater behind “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” and that the whole process was “ritual, a reaffirmation of theater as a necessary tool in my life, my understanding, and everything else.” -Inclusive vision of life and art. And art in life.”

Noting that “Angels in America” ​​was written in two parts, Chris’ words also spoke of the rather painful (“still cathartic”) transitions made by Kushner’s main “Angels” character. Passed during his previous epic dramaturgy. “I needed to be… spiritually cleansed,” Chris said. “It was complicated in thought, but I needed to recontextualize everything I thought about for the new album.”

However, according to Chris’ estimation, “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” should have been about being “bold and extreme, flashing bright colors like Prior, dying but lost in this dream-like state.” “While you were there, you should listen to the angels and wish for a better tomorrow. So, it was an absolute poetic gesture in my life. I needed liberation and Mike was standing there allowing me to express myself in the best way possible.”

“Chris always had great instincts,” Dean says quietly about helping turn “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” into a richly ethereal synth-pop work while staying true to its sonic nature. “I was just being myself and doing what we love,” the producer said emphatically. “It was smug music with a strong message.”

Dean, who recorded Chris’ voice in the mornings so the vocalist could “be with his emotions” and always used the singer’s first shots, brought in friends like drummer Darren King (and samples like “Lucky Man” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer). ) to stand up to intimate songs like “Track 10”. When it came to working with a (intentionally) robotic-sounding Madonna on three “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” songs, including “Angels Crying in my Bed”, Chris talked about the operatic format of his new album and imagined a dystopia. -seeing character, Big Eye.

“I always wanted an identifiable AI voice that was very reassuring, like Madonna’s,” Chris says enthusiastically. Even the mother. Mike called her and worried that I might be annoying when I asked her to be a married mother to something like a cyborg. And to that Madonna said, ‘Yes’. He is such a great actor.”

Whether he sings earthly and mundane or heavenly and otherworldly lyrics, Chris is a twistingly emotional actor as he provides his own cues, texts, and stage direction. And with such fragile, painful subjects to touch and ways to make them powerfully emotional, “Paranoia, Angels, True Love” is Christine and the Queens’ most sensitive lyric album in a passionate catalog. Ask Chris if it’s hard to handle being open to such sensitivity and he says, “No. The song has never been the hard part of my life. The challenge is the living room. The songs that mean so much to me write themselves through me.”

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