Ooh goody — a parade to rain on! You wouldn’t believe the hyperbole expended by the rock critics on this middle-class French lass, real name Héloïse Letissier. Or maybe, being used to such mass gullibility, you would. ‘Bogglingly intelligent’ and ‘a thrillingly uncompromising artist, playing with ideas of gender, identity and individuality to pop-bright melodies’, for example. Her first album in English, Chaleur humaine, was similarly bestrewn with pop-hack ejaculate, to the extent that it resembled a plasterer’s radio. Why? Oh, check out the back story. Very gender fluid. Leftie. French. Channelling early 1980s electro pop and dance. And here she is with her hair cropped and calling herself Chris. What’s not to like?
Well, the album. It’s not bad, but then nor is it Bad, which is the benchmark she was aiming at, I think. But Michael Jackson’s hit, irritating though it was, did not starve its listeners of tunes. That’s complaint number one. Complaint number two is that the lyrics are incomprehensible sixth-form drivel, stuffed with images that don’t work and desperately lacking focus. Either that or they are, as the NME put it, ‘sublime poetry’. One of the two, then. There are four good songs, of which the lovely ballad ‘The Walker’ stands out, alongside the genuinely catchy ‘5 Dollars’ (which nonetheless outstays its welcome and runs out of steam and ideas). There’s another song called ‘Make Some Sense’. Well, indeed, sugar tits. Someone is playing a nice piano on ‘Goya Soya’ and the whole thing is well produced and slick. And boring.
Héloïse Letissier? I prefer Matthew Le Tissier. At least he knew where the goal was.