sandrine collard communique

Ten years on, Sandrine Collard is getting praise for her part in the Dallas project, where Veerle Baetens attracts most of the spotlight. But take note: la Collard has recorded before, with Ideal Husband ànd solo. Moreover, Je Communique(Need Records / Capitol Belgium 2002, cat. no. 0724354033803) is one of the best pop albums ever produced in Belgium ou dans la francophonie, imho.

Crystal clear production by Dan Lacksman of Telex fame, exquisite lyrics and compositions by Sandrine même, except for the odd Christophe cover (“Les marionettes“). 2003 interview here – http://www.lalibre.be/culture/musique-festivals/article/121138/sandrine-collard-le-coup-sensass.html – plus previous praise here – https://uzine.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/baetens-collard-do-dallas/ – and an extensive review here: https://uzine.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/uzine-since-1999-issn-13773828/ > [uzine 03.14]. (Heck, I’ll just make it easy for you and paste it below.  For Sandrine’s faves you’ll have to download [uzine 03.02] yourself though.)

“Songwriter, chanteuse ànd filmmaker Sandrine Collard  was born in Namur, Belgium, has lived in Antwerp and currently resides in Brussels. She writes lyrics with a strong feminine (not feminist) touch and a strong tongue-in-cheek irony that are truly amazing, and which should please any fan of French literature (at times, I’m reminded of Raymond Queneau‘s warmly mocking humanism) and the wittiness of for instance Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain“. Even the one song she chose to cover, Les marionettesby Christophe (of Aline fame), oozes a similar sort of smart naivité. At the same time, “Je Communique” equally reminds of rap music, since there’s an unfailing flow to most of the lyrics. “Le coup sensass” even brings an uptempo, and highly intelligent slice of self-analysis to an unending series of ‘-ace’ / ‘-asse’ rhymes.

Much of the album’s charm is of course also due to the delicate musical arrangements to the songs. The lightfooted yet intimate electropop music (- très timeless pop, not fashionable electroclash -) which she designed for her songs whilst pc-ing at home, and which she later created and reworked in the studio with top class producer Dan Lacksman (of Telex fame), suits ms. Collard’s songs brilliantly, since it’s melodious and playful and simple all at once. The sounds which Mr. Lacksman devised sound both coolly clever and warmly sympathetic, and the general sound design also allows for simple keyboard sounds or other minor effects to efficiently underscore a lyrical twist here or a witty observation there, e.g. those bubbly sounds in “La bulle”. It’s details like that which make this album such an enjoyable listening experience, time and time again.

And those lyrics, of course! Collard has written thirteen mini soap operas that betray a talent for psychology and self-criticism that’s almost worthy of Kafka or any of the great ‘journal’ (diary)authors…

  • “Mes discussions” tells the story, in first-person narrative, of someone who knows she likes talking a tad too much: ‘ma seule drogue / c’est ça, / parler à qui / voudra’.
  • “Le gsm” is a similar study (fictitious or autobiographical – doesn’t matter) into the utilitarian-thinking mind of someone who’s feeling lonely and insecure and who doesn’t feel her gsm is of much help: ‘j’imaginais bien un simple entretien pour me ramener un moral d’acier. Sur ce coup mon inquiétude devient une habitude, faut pas…’
  • “Les femmes” is an equally subtle psychological analysis that would have made a great song for, say, Ally McBeal to sing, since it’s the soliloquy of someone who’s starting to see things for herself and realises that her judgement hasn’t always been without fault: ‘tant qu’à faire des confidences, je me fâche sur ma conscience puisqu’elle ne m’a pas découragée’.
  • Meeting people, too, can create doubt, as “Les grimaces” proves: ‘Je pense aux hommes, ceux qui m’attirent et puis s’assomment de leurs soupirs. Sans faire l’éloge d’un bel avenir je m’interroge sur leurs sourires. Tant de grimaces cachant le pire, moi ça m’agace, vaut mieux en rire’.
  • “Je doute” similarly sings about uncertainty: ‘Tant de doutes enracinés, dans ma petite tête écerelée, s’amusent à me décourager devant un simple choix à faire’.
  • “La bulle” is a testimonial of someone who knows she’s holding herself back and feels like she’s living in a bubble, protecting herself after her lover has hurt her: ‘tu m’as fait tant pleurer / que tout mon maquillage s’est mis à couler / pour effacer j’ai dû faire mousser / et puis j’ai soupiré, / donc, voilà d’ou vient / cette bulle / autour de moi?’
  • “Le miroir” is the monologue of a woman who’s breaking up with her lover and making the switch from looking back to looking forward by dumping his old mirror and getting herself a new one of her own: ‘Maintenant j’ai décidé que mon miroir n’offrira plus aucun désespoir. S’il est honnête et sincère, mon miroir, ce sera à mon prochain de voir’.
  • “Fuis-moi” dwells on similar themes: ‘Tous les clichés parlent de nous dans la vie, / on est tous effrayés par l’ennui / de se donner dans un méchant lit, / de se coincer dans son petit abri. / La solitude personne n’en rit’.
  • “Le licenciement du boucher” sounds like a woman who’s about to dump her lover, while she’s in fact searching for the best words to tell her butcher that she’s no longer going to buy his meat: ‘Fatiguée de lui mentir, je recherche les mots qui m’inspirent. J’espère qu’il sera bien docile, la vérité n’est pas facile, mais il comprendra. Si je fais un discours habile, y glissant quelques mots futiles, il supportera’.
  • “Le coup sensass”, finally, ends in a programmatic phrase: ‘J’veux que les gens m’enlacent en disant qu’ils sont contents que rien ne les froisse. Comme à pile ou face, il faut du style pour pouvoir faire un coup sensass’. Eh oui, il faut! Et elle en a.

Most songs are pleasant midtempo ‘listening’ songs, but there’s a couple of uptempo songs here too, which are danceable, but not quite in a dancefloor kind of way: “Le coup sensass” and “Cache-cache dans le noir” bring to mind the Lio of her earliest hits (“Banana split“, “Amoureux solitaires“, “Sage comme un image“), while the slightly absurd “Aïe” equally reminds me of the Bowling Balls or even Stéréo Total, but without any of that French / German duo’s rock ‘n’ roll allusions.

The two videos on the cd (for Cache-cache dans le noirandLe coup sensass” – one of which stars Daan [Stuyven] in a guest role) are utterly delicious too, cleverly giving proof that ms. Collard can always build herself a fine film career if that coquette voice of hers should ever get tired of singing. (Check the web for more info on ms. Collard‘s movie shorts.) Meanwhile, we’re looking très forward to the next album!” 2003 review source: https://uzine.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/uzine-since-1999-issn-13773828/ > [uzine 03.14].

So … go find thatJe Communiquecd – it’s timeless ànd it’s got the two official videos on it as media files too!

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3 responses to “sandrine collard communique

  1. Pingback: 2012-09-28 & 2012-10 dallas goes live | [uzine] - since 1999

  2. Pingback: baetens & collard do dallas | [uzine] - since 1999

  3. Pingback: sandrine platine | [uzine] - since 1999

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