Les Rita Mitsouko
2000: Delabel 7243 8487562 6
Every time I play this album Im surprised at how much I enjoy it, yet somehow I tend to forget that effect and impression between listenings. Its richly packed with strong, fine LRM aspects in beefily dense helpings and a generally saturated and cinematic soundscape. Which is more of that, the ridiculously melodramatic and yet magnificent La Sorcière et lInquisiteur or Les Guerriers with its superb evocation of a nation rallying for war? Ah, but waittheres Pense à Ta Carrièree, which is absolutely arresting, presenting a very precise modern scene which shifts from the speaker to the listener at the end in a breathtakingly gratifying change of cameras . And that OK, OK OK! is just brilliant.
Gripshitrider in Pariswell, thats just the most amusing part of the album (unless La Sorcière et lInquisiteur makes you laugh, as it well might do). When I first heard it I was amused but a bit baffled, as I wasnt aware of what was being described; my French tutor Nelly Lelaquet, who brought a copy of this CD back from Paris for me when it came out, enlightened me on this subject, explaining that it was referring to the guys who drive little dogshit-vacuuming vehicles around Pariss streets. (Im more familiar with the sight of the vivid-green-uniformed street-sweeping guys; the others may be a newer development of civic housekeeping that Ive not encountered yet.) Regardless of familiarity, Ive found the visuals described to be hilariously recognizable: the tourist strolling at the foot of Montmartre, busy looking up at the Sacre-Cœur, steps in some dogshit and reacts indignantlybut here its all delivered in a dreamily smooth song which whimsically mixes the street-level realities with impressions of the Hausmannian architecture and Paris in general.
Un Zéro is pretty silly as well, lyrically, but it sounds more serious and earnest. I *adore* Femme de Moyen Âgeits so easy to sing along with, and its wordplay involving middle age and swimming (among other aspects) is oh-so-tantalizingly amusing. The title tracks awfully catchy as well, and Ive found myself singing bits of it while biking (especially the whispered adieu, pays adorée section); although I dont particularly get into the lovers triangle scene of Toi & Moi & Elle, that same sort of catchiness (both lyrically and musically) keeps me from ever skipping it when I play the CD. Dis-Moi des Mots and Cétait un Homme, however, often do get passed over: the former because its a little tedious, the latter because its too profound and depressing for casual listening.
Finally, just to be thorough, Allo! and its alternate version, Alors Cest Quoi just havent quite captivated metheyre not bad, I even catch myself singing bits of them now and then, but they dont seem to have any particular identity or story, and Jam is just a vague extra track which probably would have been more appropriate as a bonus track on a single. Fatigué dÊtre Fatigué drags on a bit but at least its interesting if not fascinating; surrounded by so many stronger and more intense tracks, however, it really cant compete.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.