Taylor Swift, Björk… What are we listening to at the start of the school year?

Lhe autumnal musical vintage this year is as eclectic as it is eccentric! After the confinement albums, a breath of freedom and demand swept away the overly regulated pop formats. The pandemic will have had an overlooked side effect: have our ears changed? Vinyl continues to rise in French homes with more than 5 million units sold in 2021 (it represents 33% of the physical turnover of the music industry), proof that some of the listening modes are moving towards a longer focus on whole albums rather than fragmented pieces. The young artists then indulge in playing with more complex melodies (Oliver Sim), elongated narratives where the songs are chapters of the same story (Taylor Swift), and turn to instruments from the past (Tamino). Pop stars take more risks, molding their plastic like sculptures rather than dolls (Rina Sawayama). It is also the great return of albums that make you travel, such as those of La Femme, Phoenix and Charlotte Rampling. Are you ready to embark on our back-to-school playlist?

Oliver Sim’s Praise of Ugliness

It is above all a question of shame and fear in the first solo album by Oliver Sim, bassist and singer of the group The XX. By opening up about his illness (he has had HIV since he was 17), the 33-year-old Englishman promised us no levity. And yet! Bathed in light and sprinkled with glitter, these ten pieces explode masks and secrets in a decadence of rich, fine, elegant, complex, serious and light productions, reflecting his feelings about this “hideous” part of him. . Inspired by his conversations on the subject with his loved ones, Elton John and Jimmy Somerville (the Scottish singer and LGBT rights activist even appears in the song “Hideous”), these tender and humorous songs give hope. Accompanied by a short film directed by Frenchman Yann Gonzales (A knife in the heart), this album is also an unusual dive into the universe of a sexy gay horror film from the 80s, with bizarre monsters and cult references. Mirror, mirror, tell me who’s the most hideous.

hideous bastard (released September 9 on XL Recording). hideous (visible from September 8 on the Mubi platform).

Rina Sawayama’s Metamorphoses

She’s the new darling of Generation Z. At 32, the British-Japanese singer and author, a Cambridge graduate (in politics, sociology and psychology) and an Oxford student, worked as a model, ice cream seller and manicurist before to break through two years ago with his first album, Sawayama, celebrated by the press and the public across the Channel and across the Atlantic. Her happy pop, coming out of the thigh of Abba, Madonna and Christina Aguilera, was validated by Elton John (with whom she sang). Complete artist, she imagines in her concerts and music videos sculptural costumes, intrepid stagings (it is said that she is the new Lady Gaga – who is also one of her fans). Her charisma has amazed as far as Hollywood: the singer will be alongside Keanu Reeves in John Wick 4 in 2023. His second album, hold the girl is a fearsomely effective ode to freedom.

hold the girl (released September 16, 2022 on Dirty Hit).

Tamino explores its roots

The tickets for his concerts across the Atlantic were sold out in one day. Behind the hype of Tamino, there is a (beautiful) mouth, a great vocal amplitude descending low in introspection and high in emotion, an English language with a slight accent that is difficult to identify, dark curls on a melancholy look and a ring stuck in the lobe of his ear, giving him an air of Corto Maltese, when he is in reality the grandson of the great Amir Moharam Fouad, one of the most famous singers in Egypt. Buoyed by the success of his first album, this 25-year-old Belgian-Egyptian unites on his second opus Sahara, from the Arabic meaning “just before dawn”, folk guitars and oriental strings, and reconnects with the oud, a type of lute he learned to master with a Syrian refugee in Antwerp. He is accompanied by Radiohead drummer Colin Greenwood. Its hypnotic, graceful, modern and timeless melodies give a feeling of space and adventure.

Sahara (released September 23 on Virgin).

Björk’s Good Mushroom Harvest

The Icelandic has always been able to surprise us. In the clip for “Atopos”, Björk seems completely at home in the depths of the earth, covered in a moss green dress, fingernails in the shape of roots, eyes made up like flowers, surrounded by six clarinettists and a DJ for a mushroom rave. His new song is a passport to Fossora, the artist’s tenth album, which evokes underground sounds, a demanding, almost brutal contemporary pop. If you have tasted this forest appetizer, find Björk soon in our pages…

Fossora (released September 30 on Oli Records). New podcast series “Sonic Symbolism” (available on Spotify).

Taylor Swift’s sleepless nights

Princess of country at 16, Taylor Swift has established herself as one of the biggest pop stars of the moment. However, she can’t sleep… Her tenth album, Midnights, brings together thirteen songs, recounting thirteen sleepless nights scattered along her “long” life (she is 32 years old). Hours filled with dreams, anguish, doubt, drink, inhabited by angels and demons. A great narrator, she wrote these pieces like short stories in the pure folk tradition. Mistress of mysteries, the singer does not reveal anything more about this highly anticipated opus. In the meantime, this summer she released a title specially written for the film’s soundtrack. Where the crayfish sing, adaptation of the eponymous bestseller by Delia Owens (12 million copies sold) with actress Daisy Edgar-Jones. A little coffee to stay awake?

Midnights (out October 21 on Island / Def Jam)

Aloïse Sauvage, untamed animal

Singer, former circus artist (she specializes in acro-dance, trained at the Fratellini Academy), actress (we could see her in Trepalium, Cold War, The Beasts, Evil of stones, Django and 120 beats per minute) and singer-songwriter (nominated for the Victoires de la Musique as a stage revelation)… Aloïse Sauvage (yes, that’s her real name) is releasing a second album full of energy, autoune and afrotrap rhythms. ” I knit and unravel themes that are dear to me: the love and acceptance of the artist, the young woman, the lesbian that I am “, she comments.

SAVAGE (released October 7 on Capitol).

The Woman becomes a mujer

His tours in Europe, North and South America and Asia have proven that La Femme is one of the few French artists who have been able to export themselves by singing in their native language. But it’s in Spanish that the group makes its comeback, with Teatro Lucido,a travel diary written in the Iberian language during their adventures and stories during excursions to Seville, Madrid, Granada, Mexico City, Cuautepec, Padul… Pfirst opus of a series of thematic albums entitled “Collection Odyssée »it’s a bohemian, unusual and festive ballad that makes you want to pack your bags.

Teatro Lucido (exit the November 4 at Pointed Discs).

Loving Charlotte Rampling

They had already taken us to Rome, “Via Condotti”, for a walk in the footsteps of a love (present or past?). And it is love, always, which is at the heart of the third album of Charlotte Rampling, directed and composed by Léonard Lasry and written by Élisa Point. Songs are sometimes spoken, sung and played like scenes, in his voice, deep, deep, iconic, with a sense of urgency to plunge into romance, eyes wide open.

Love but what a funny idea (released November 18 by 29MUSIC/Kuroneko).

The Dressed Wounds of Lous and the Yakuza

Renamed Lous (“soul” backwards), accompanied by an army of authors, artists, directors, press officers (her yakuzas), Marie-Pierra Kakoma was the musical discovery of 2020. His voice is clear, young, candid. Her melodies pop, variety, hip-hop, R & B… She listens to both classical by doing versions of Latin at home (her passion) and rap by putting on one of her many wigs. A fashion icon, the look of this tall, slender, graceful girl, with smoldering eyes and a face painted with black features, was noticed by Louis Vuitton, who made her its muse. At 26, the daughter of doctors born in the Congo, she lived in Rwanda and studied philosophy in Belgium (she still reads Plato every day), had the honor of translating Amanda’s “The Hill We Clim” into French. Gorman, declaimed for the nomination of Joe Biden. In her first album, she told the street, rape and loneliness. This time, she sings about gambling, desire and money in this second opus promised before the end of the year.

Phoenix’s Return

For their latest album, Ti Amo, they had locked themselves in the Gaité Lyrique and the result had made us melt like Italian ice cream in a Fiat in full sun. This time, it’s at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that Phoenix put down its suitcases of microphones to record its seventh album, Alpha Zulu, named after the heady, dancing and bouncy electro-pop-disco nugget that brightened up our summer. This time, the quartet from Versailles, which is a hit abroad, has us waiting with “Tonight”, a duet with Ezra Koenig from the group Vampire Weekend. Isn’t it beautiful, this back to school?

Alpha Zulu (released November 4 on Loyalty/A+LSo/Glassnote Records).

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Taylor Swift, Björk… What are we listening to at the start of the school year?