Les Rita Mitsouko
1993: Delabel DE 7243 8 39146 2 3
This was my first LRM album, and I bought it after hearing Ya dla Haine on the Pigalle soundtrack album. I had never heard anything quite like that, and my French was nowhere near being able to work out the meaning of the song, at the time, but much later I came to understand it more. Originally I most enjoyed the livelier numbers, such as Au Fond du Couloir, Ya dla Haine, and Elevator. Over the years since I got it (nearly a decade now) certain songs have come to charm my socks off: in particular, Chanson dA., La Steppe, Modern Baleine, and La Belle Vie. In addition to these, Femme dAffaires is pretty funny, and Chères Petites intrigues me with its slinky pace and unblinking stare.
I would love LHôtel Particulaire and Les Amants if Catherine hadnt gone into the orgasmic gasping in the first and wailsville in the second; theyre good songs but the recordings here dont quite do them justice (Les Amants gets nearly an ideal performance on their Acoustiques, taking on a whole different feel and coming across as a last waltz of the night). Also, La Steppe is a refinement of their earlier version of it (on their debut album, Rita Mitsouko, in 1984), and it is vastly improved this way.
As I grew to understand and speak French, massively accelerated in the endeavor by Nelly Lelaquet Smiths patient yet firm tutoring, I started to recognize nuances of each song on this album and to appreciate certain ones more than others; La Steppe was a late entry in that list, but Chères Petites remains the best revelation (although Femme dAffaires takes the prize for pleasant innuendo). Au Fond du Couloir confuses me, however, because even after I was certain I understood the lyrics in French I still had no idea what the hell the song was about: on the surface its saying youre nearly there, youve almost reached the place youve been heading for, its just down the hall, keep going! But what is it actually about??? I assume its an allusion or a metaphor, but to what? Or is it literally just that simple, an encouragement for someone heading toward a sordidly unexotic destination of ridiculously minor importance? Id love to hear from anyone who has a better take on this song, actually .
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.