Saturday, February 27, 2010

Émilie Simon


I have a confession to make. I'm 35 years old and have been a purchaser of music for about the last 23 of those years. Until last week I had never purchased an album by a female artist. I'm not exactly sure why that is. I have purchases some individual songs, but no woman artist has impressed me to the point where I felt I needed the whole album.

This changed when I bought Émilie Simon's The Flower Book. I've been at least dimly aware of her existence since 2006 when Holly gave me a copy of the Thievery Corporation album Versions. The song on the album which stuck most vehemently in my craw was Émilie Simon's Desert. It's highly agreeable trip hop, but the most distinguishing feature is her voice. If you were to draw a triangle and label the vertices "Ice cream sundae," "blow job," and "Raphael's The School of Athens," Émilie Simon's voice would be near the barycenter.
I know what you're thinking: "Greg, you're just a sucker for hot french chicks." To which I can only fairly respond touché. In point of fact, it has pissed me off to no end that people have had music careers because of their looks or what they'll do in a producer's office and not their actual musical acumen. That is not the situation here. This album is catchy, musically interesting, and at times highly emotive. Instead of degenerating further into embarrassingly incoherent yummy noises, I'll let the music speak for itself.
FlowersDesertFleur de SaisonDame de LotusDreamland

7 comments:

Rufus said...

I remember hearing her cover of I Wanna be Your Dog when I was in France and being really impressed by it. The problem I think with listening to French music while in France is that you get twee'd to death. I think I probably missed a lot of good stuff. 'Fleur de saison' is a pretty great song. Thanks for pointing this out.

gregvw said...

Yes, that cover is on the album as well and it is pretty good. The other tracks which have gotten their hooks into me are Song of the Storm, Il Pleut, and To the Dancers in the Rain.

It seems that she moved to New York and that her most recent album The Big Machine is entirely in English and unfortunately more of a standard-sounding pop album from what I've heard from it.

Why the hell anyone would move to New York from Montpellier is beyond my comprehension.

Holly said...

Anyone wanna guess what I think of this? Greg? Anyone? Bueller?

Rufus said...

Sure, what's your take on it?

Holly said...

I was hoping Greg would guess. I find female singers generally very unpleasant to listen to. Probably my mother didn't sing to me enough or something. I tried listening to this, and it was not to my taste. I'm always genuinely surprised when I hear a female singer I do like.

Rufus said...

That's too bad. I would say that I find many female speaking voices unpleasant, although actually I can think of a common male speaking voice that drives me up a wall.

What I haven't mentioned in this whole discussion is a French singer who I like- Sebastian Tellier- who evoked French anger by singing in English. Partly this is because I can never convince anyone that he's really good.

gregvw said...

Well Holly, I had no expectation that this would appeal to you, which is why I didn't mention it to you directly, but rather here since I though there was a chance that some of it would be of interest to Rufus.

That said, I generally don't care for female singers as as well and was surprised to find one I like.