Reviews

Christine and the Queens “PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE” Album Review

PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE

“PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE” the fifth album by French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens has been released. In 20 songs, Chris reflects on religion, love, anxiety, and faith by drawing inspiration from Tony Kushner’s well-known play Angels in America from 1991. The record is more of a thorough soul-searching exercise. It serves as a love letter to the artist (born Hélose Letissier) as well as to a romantic interest.

The album also has the atmosphere of awaking in a strange, old cathedral. The ’80s flamboyance, a reoccurring motif and influence in Christine and the Queens music, is still present here, but it’s done very differently than it was on the previous album. Chris properly calls “PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE” “a love letter to the world and the heavens that encapsulate the fever of life.”

Album Cover Art

Christine And The Queens &Quot;Paranoïa, Angels, True Love&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, June 14, 2024

For the cover of the band’s album, a lady seems to have encountered an ambush she appears prepared for, a she casually waves a hand to send the form creeping up behind her under a dark cloth. It could also just be a random black cloth used as the photoshoot’s backdrop. Any way it swings, it still comes out as a creative work of art, mostly because of the vulnerability and braveness portrayed.

Tracks and Features

From the opening track, which includes Chris’s audacious spoken word line, “Welcome to the light, from where I stand everything is glorious,” the album is expansive and theatrical. The brief album’s opening introduces listeners to its profound soundscapes, glam rock influences, beautiful lyricism, and dramatic vibe.

The album’s third single, “Tears Can Be So Soft,” which comes after, is a highlight. Chris muses on the therapeutic benefits of sobbing and being with your emotions through repetitious lyrics about missing his mother, sibling, friends, and joy. The instrumental prioritizes a sub-bass that is deep and trip-hop-inspired, along with soaring strings towards the song’s conclusion, which only serve to highlight Chris’ vulnerably expressed poetry.

Chris chose the song to create this rich sense of almost womb-like, hypnotic space where the voice could soar in its loneliness, sampling Marvin Gaye’s “Feel My Love Inside” and juxtaposing it against a recurrent atonal rhythm.  The German composer Johann Pachelbel’s famous “Canon in D” is expertly sampled by Chris throughout the album, particularly on the track “Full of life.” Chris repeatedly uses the words “fucking” and “fighting” in contrast to the classical sample, an 808 beat, and other elements.

On the album, Chris works with various high-profile artists, including Madonna and up-and-coming rapper 070 Shake as well as iconic producer Mike Dean. Madge is heard on three of the album’s tracks, mostly lending echoey, theatrical spoken word interludes. On the record, her voice sounds almost divine. Another highlight is Chris’ appearance with 070 Shake on “Let me touch you once.” The song is one of the more powerful ones on the album, a passionate union of musical styles that flawlessly combines French and English.

Chris sings, “My love is my light,” in the album’s concluding tune, “Big eye,” a cathartic track that references the album’s opening track. The song unites all of the album’s themes—from motherhood to divinity to sex—in one track by fusing his layered, ethereal vocals with oddball synths and climax instrumentals.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Overture 1:23
2 Tears can be so soft 5:11
3 Marvin descending 4:06
4 A day in the water 4:01
5 Full of life 4:32
6 Angels crying in my bed (feat. Madonna) 4:26
7 Track 10 11:09
8 Overture (feat. MIKE DEAN) 1:26
9 He’s been shining for ever, your son 5:01
10 Flowery days 3:00
11 I met an angel (feat. Madonna) 6:06
12 True love (feat. 070 Shake) 5:47
13 Let me touch you once (feat. 070 Shake) 3:15
14 Aimer, puis vivre 4:50
15 Shine 5:52
16 We have to be friends 4:14
17 Lick the light out (feat. Madonna) 6:31
18 To be honest 3:41
19 I feel like an angel 4:31
20 Big eye 7:47

Album Theme

Undoubtedly a work of art, “PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE” is an expansive, beautiful audio play on the mutability of existence that is both elegiac and depressing. His writing is dense with metaphor and symbolism and draws inspiration from the Chris/Red/Letissier act, particularly in light of his own gender.

Production Credits

Producers involved on the new record are A. G. Cook, Ash Workman, Christine and the Queens, MIKE DEAN & Tommy Rush.

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