The No Comprendo

Les Rita Mitsouko

1986: Virgin 07777 866442 0

  1. Les Histoires d’A.
  2. Andy
  3. C’est Comme Ça
  4. Vol de Nuit
  5. Someone to Love
  6. Stupid Anyway
  7. Un Soir un Chien
  8. Bad Days
  9. Tonite
  10. Nuit d’Ivresse
  11. Andy (English Version)

The English lyrics are a bit clumsy here and there, but so much fun there is to be had on this CD! It’s a fine improvement on their debut album, still nowhere near the rich and solid sound they began to deliver in the 1990s and apparently have perfected as Ringer’s voice has matured but definitely a step into the solid territory of their future. As with other Les Rita Mitsouko albums, there are interesting parallels with Eurythmics in this: Dave & Annie shed their Tourists skins in the process of making In the Garden and emerged with their second independent album’s hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This),” and on the French side of the coin Catherine & Fred stepped further into their unique zone with this album and secured themselves their own surefire signature tune with “Andy.”

“Bad Days” is a gas…again, the English may be dodgily passable (“speak of bad days” would probably be better translated as “talkin’ ’bout bad days,” for example), but the sentiment is rich with biting sarcasm—“I gonna spend the nite / and don’t ask me with who / the great and delicious full fat bloody ball / a brand of big pig will be allright,” there’s a taste for you….

In addition to the ample supply of quirky tracks here, there are some nearly-elegant and still lyrically quirky gems: “Vol de Nuit” is a personal favorite of mine, and “Un Soir un Chien” is a wavering phantom of surrealism in that melodic realm and it oh-so-gently darkens and enrichens the album by its inclusion. “Stupid Anyway” I first heard done on Acoustiques and it took awhile before I was able to enjoy this version as much as I did the other…I’m mentioning it in this paragraph because it’s more languid than many of the tracks on this album, but really it’s in a class by itself, one both divy and poignantly elegant.

As with Eurythmics and their hits, including “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This),” I’ve never been too fond of “Andy”—LRM’s repertoire has just had too many finer works, and I didn’t experience “Andy” as an iconic moment in pop music history. Still, it got its debut here (in two versions, an English one apparently added to sweeten the potential pot) and is now a solid pillar of their concert catalogue. I still don’t quite get its appeal, but it’s OK to be in the minority sometimes after all.

“Les Histoires d’A,” “Nuit d’Ivresse,” and “C’est Comme Ça,” by the way, I prefer in their Acoustiques form, but again I’m prejudiced in having heard the latter first.