Get ready for a sexy, sweaty new era
French pop icon Christine and The Queens finally made her long-awaited return this week with ‘Girlfriend’. A slinking hunk of ’80s-nodding funk, it’s a fiery first taste of things to come on her long-awaited second album, and a complete swerve in direction. By the looks of things, LP2 may not be far off, and following the release of her comeback single Héloïse Letissier has given a far clearer picture of what to expect from her new Chris persona going forward.
A gender-bending figure who blends macho seduction with powerful femininity, Chris is introduced in the first few seconds of ‘Girlfriend’ with husky tones, and her second album as a whole will apparently continue in a similarly bold direction. Here’s everything we know so far.
Her new sound is…. sweaty
One word has featured prominently in Héloïse Letissier’s vocabulary over the last couple years – sweaty. At the beginning of 2017, the French star told NME to expect a “sweaty and tougher” second album, alluding vaguely towards higher tempos, and even more dancing this time around. Returning just over a year later with ‘Girlfriend’, the single gives a clearer picture of Chris and her clear perspiration aspirations. Channeling the sleazy strut of Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ and West Coast G-Funk, sweatiness has never sounded more appealing, to be honest.
Her second album will come out this year
With a massive world tour lined up later this year, and Chris’ huge comeback single leading the way towards LP2, it’s no real gamble to predict that a second Christine and The Queens album will be landing imminently. “Oh yes, I think it’s coming,” she hinted on Beats 1, speaking to presenter Matt Wilkinson. She added that the album is currently 80% done. According to Nick Huggett – the chief creative officer of her label Because Music – her as-of-yet untitled second album is definitely dropping at some point in 2018. As he told Music Week, it “sounds fantastic”. By the time October comes around, and Christine and The Queens’ first show in Luxembourg kicks off a brand new stage show, we might well have the record within close grasp. Here’s hoping.
And talking of the tour…
Live presence has always been central to Christine and The Queens. Muscle-flexing and bouquet-wielding her way through a never-ending debut album tour – culminating in an unforgettable set at Glastonbury in 2016 – a main ingredient in Chris’ rapid rise has to be the completely unique nature of all her shows. It’s no real surprise that, before becoming a musician, Héloïse Letissier was studying to be a stage director. An all-singing, all-dancing masterclass in bringing the euphoria of a Parisian discotheque to any venue in the world, there’s nothing else out there quite like a Christine and The Queens show.
Though her ‘Chaleur Humaine’ era has long since drawn to a close, expect even more live innovation this time around. “There’s going to be females and males, if that means anything now,” Chris told Beats1, speaking about her plans for the upcoming tour and her dancing entourage. “Strong women on stage with me, ambiguous men and strong men at the same time, and they all have a character. I chose them like I would choose for a movie.”
The whole of LP 2 will have a cinematic slant
Christine and The Queens’ letter-covered, collage visuals over the last few months have nodded clearly in the direction of French New Wave films; think along the lines of Jean Luc-Godard’s cult classic Breathless. The mischievous, larger-than-life characters that pepper the genre will also feature on the new record, it seems. Chris is clearly a fan of arty French films (she previously posted a still from another Godard film, Pierrot le Fou, on her Instagram account) and it looks like LP2 will be channelling some serious movie inspiration.
“The second album is very much about cinema, to me,” she told Beats1. Apparently the record will borrow from movie icons, too. “Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo & Juliet [is a] interesting figure,” she said, “tiny, mafioso and interesting. I kind of wanted to steal the energy of some male characters and use it for myself. I like to steal things from men basically.”
So, who on earth is Chris, then?
In teasing her return, Christine and The Queens took a drastic move, crossing out most of her name. Chris marks the start of a “totally new chapter,” she said. “It’s interesting, the process of striking something out,” she added ”It’s perverting something, but you don’t make it disappear.”
“I guess I like to be called Chris more and more because it’s kind of evolving,” she explained of the new persona. “I’m back and I’m evolving. It’s about making the character evolve in a way that feels to me that it fits more well with where I’m at now. And Chris feels more like a nickname, like something that is more confident and exposed and I do feel like the new sounds are going to be very much about that.”
The new album is set to be ‘creepy and sexy’
While Christine and The Queen’s debut album ‘Chaleur Humaine’ explores the constrictions around being a young woman in a world filled with gender biases, the follow-up will go down the route of completely subverting stereotypes instead. Sexuality on LP2 looks set to be bolder, braver, and far more confident, too.
“I’m going to redefine what it means to be sexy, and it’s going to be creepy as hell,” she told NME in 2016. “I could never do the ‘sexy’ way of being sexy. The first album was a coming-of-age album – I don’t like the phrase, but when you listen to it you can tell I was having a hard time, that I wasn’t socially relating to people. Since then, things have happened to me, including sexual experiences. I’ve experienced being properly lost in my desires and it’s really influenced my writing. I’m obsessed with the lusting female figure in pop music: I don’t know why George Michael should be able to sing ‘I Want Your Sex’ and I can’t, because I do. I want their sex as well, you know?”