Camille, Le sac des filles, September 2002
Referring to Camille’s genre as ‘chanson’ would give a drop of old-school tendency to her originality that may not necessarily represent a trait, thus a drawback. Her music combines therefore elements from smooth and lounge jazz, with the well-known French type of music, antifolk and the bossa nova influences that Nouvelle Vague will define. The 2002 album is a beautiful mixture of sad guitar ballads and energetic songs that mock aspects of everyday life and approaches.
‘1, 2, 3’ was on no account chosen arbitrarily the intro of the album, as it is the song of a bohemian who agreed upon a positive attitude towards a negative aspect of his/her existence. This is definitely the best track out of eleven, the perfect role play meant to deceive the non-French speakers when it comes to the topic of the song, not to mention that it possesses an interesting composition of childish tones which sound as though dedicated to the world of grown-ups only due to the distortion effect that has been used.
The tempo changes to typical French chords in the middle of the song, a process that is meant to rush the entire atmosphere and the counting adds up a childish feature, just like another counting (‘Comptine d’un autre ete’) once did without a voice, only through piano keys.
‘Paris’ seems to be the theme song of a musical but, even though the song structure follows the classical one, the lyrics make the difference. Considering ‘New York, New York’ ,which praises the city that never sleeps, a counterexample, ‘Paris’ is about a girl who cheerfully sings “Paris que je te quitte!”, who anxiously awaits to get away.
‘La demeure d’un ciel’ and ‘Les sac des filles’ have a clear structure, a light message and a well-shaped rhythm all in all, as well as ‘Mon petit vieux’. ‘Les Ex’ is a more experimental example, with its Irish wanna-be influences and the puns in the bridge, while ‘Ruby’ sounds like a different version (using another name) of Angie or Michelle.
‘Un homme deserte’ is extremely powerful, although it doesn’t seem to add up to neither the rest of the album, nor to Camille’s garrulous, freaky and bohemian style. It’s dramatic, overly-abundant in gloom and sorrow, almost leaving you the bitter, sometimes sour taste of a well-played tragedy, and what makes up for such an effect are the weeping voices of the chorus, the slow motion piano and violins.
‘Je ne suis pas ta chose’ has an ingenious switch from the intro, which made me believe I was about to hear a Josh Groban song, to the style of ‘Mon petit vieux’. Some drawbacks are her voice that loses a bit of its strength in the bridge and a bit too American-main-stream like ending, because of the occasionally powerful intonation and the constant repetitive theme of. The second best of this album is, to my mind, ‘Elle s’en va’.
It requires a deep performance and a lot of emotional meaning attached, which has to be obvious in every word. Finally, ‘La ou je suis nee’ gave me the impression of a Jon Brion work for the soundtrack of Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
To sump up, for me Camille found the perfect moment to stick with the rainy, morose weather outside. It’s the type of album to listen to when distracted, when allowing yourself to think of something completely different than the meaning of lyrics, but also the type of music you can appreciate at its fullest as a work of art.