Review: Christine and the Queens – La vita nuova


Christine and the Queens delivers again with synth-pop that will leave you dancing with your feelings

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Last week, synth-pop singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens (Heloise Letisser) released an EP to follow-up from her highly successful second album Chris. Translated in English as ‘The New Life’, La vita nuova exposes listeners to a six-track experience of Letisser at her most confessional and honest.

The opening track, suitably named ‘People, I’ve been sad’, addresses listeners universally as ‘people’ and assumes they have all collectively concluded that she has been sad. A repetition in her lyrics focuses in at all the assumptions that hold truth, singing ‘It’s true, that people, I’ve been sad / It’s true, that people, I’ve been gone / It’s true, that people, I’ve been missing out / And missing out for way too long.’ The tempo, driven by sparse electronic beat and lush, low synth notes, wallows in the pain of being truthful about how you feel.

By the second verse, these sonic elements pause and orchestral strings replace them. This is a moment for tender and kind reflection. Letisser sings this verse in her native language of French, which aided by a rough translation, she shifts her observations onto how others speak with evil intention. She confesses how such things matter, exposing her vulnerability which is foregrounded from the quiet background.

The title track features Caroline Polacheck, lead singer of indie-pop duo Chairlift. Based on ‘Vita nuova’ from Italian writer Dante Alighieri, the song drifts between Italian and English lyrics, capturing Alighieri’s medieval tale of courtship and tying it into a similar modern-day context. Letisser opens with yearnful observation: ‘I want you to touch me with your rage / I want you to touch me with your fury / This is the renunciation of your shame / I want to make love with this song.’  Her voice is echoey and alone as she sings of her lust and desire to be touched with such passion that she deems it aggressive. As the song travels through catchy “Hey”s and “Oh”s, Polachek joins Letisser for a chorus that cuts through the vulnerability. Singing with unshakable need, the lyrics proclaim ‘I don’t give a damn / Until you don’t give a hand / Oh, you’re a heartbreaker / I never take your answer for sure.’ There is a doubt that accompanies her desire and this proves for interesting lyrics that battle through a relatable set of mental confliction.

Characterised by her signature synth that feels so effortlessly smooth, Christine and the Queens voice follows through irresistible melodies whilst confessing some of her most poignant lyrics yet. This makes La vita nuova an EP that is hard not to have on repeat.

Christine and the Queens La vita nuova is out now via Because Music.


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