Friday, June 1st, 2018

Christine and The Queens ft. Dâm-Funk – Girlfriend

Peabo Bryson or Lightspeed Champion?


Alex Clifton: I love the 80s/90s vibe Christine’s going for. I know it’s in vogue, but I’m a sucker for it when it’s well done, and the backing is quite good here. It’s a shame the lyrics are a bit off, though; I know there’s a French version out there, which seems to gel a bit better. “Salted skin, rash for no reason” makes sense individually, but it took me a couple listens to realize she meant rash as in impulsive and not as a result of sweaty skin. A nice bit of dancey nonsense. 

Kat Stevens: I will always rep for the “Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You” electric piano preset. 

Katherine St Asaph: Channels the ’80s, obviously, but also 2012 Dev Hynes. But the conceit, tinged with anachronistic Sophie B. Hawkins, isn’t as profound as intended. Judging by the particular accenting on the chorus, maybe it is in the French.

Alfred Soto: The keyboards and drum program are too restrained by half, reminding me of Blood Orange’s 2016 album in its fealty to an era whose sounds artists love getting wrong, sometimes thrillingly. 

Claire Biddles: “Girlfriend” is lyrically interesting and technically effortless, and the spoken “Chris” announcement in the intro is super cute, but there’s still something about Christine and The Queens that doesn’t quite click with me. Pastiche works when it’s paired with an excess of charm or aloof charisma, and I don’t quite get either from Héloïse Letissier.

Will Adams: As with “Tilted” and the live version of “Saint Claude,” Héloïse Letissier’s approach to syllables — sharpen them as much as possible, then start throwing — makes her English especially difficult to understand. Nothing on “Girlfriend” gets as awkward as “I am actually good,” and the frustration of Letissier’s Chris character comes through in both languages, but I’ll stick with “Damn dis-moi” for this round. In either language, though, a song that goes for sweaty funk-pop while pointing a funhouse mirror at aggressive masculinity (itself a distortion) is hard not to love.

William John: The lightbulb-like synths of “Girlfriend” are too airy to provide full camouflage for Héloïse Letissier’s unparalleled braggadocio, which she exaggerates to extremes here in her first new single since 2015. It’s interesting to contrast the lyrics of the chorus to “Girlfriend” and its French counterpart “Damn, dis-moi“; the word “girlfriend” is not included at any stage in the latter, and interrogatives are used in a resigned way, as though it appears the song’s protagonist has realised that a façade of armour is not worth “trippin'” over. The song generally flows better in French and I suspect that was how it was originally conceived, but I do like the slyness of the English version’s chorus, and how it reflects Letissier’s willingness to challenge traditional notions of gender and relationships. As products, I find both songs are best consumed one after the other, while dancing ’round a room in a crisp white shirt, brogues and culottes.

Thomas Inskeep: YES. Dâm-Funk teams up with Héloïse Letissier to give her band-slash-project Christine and the Queens a funk injection, and his Steve Arrington-indebted squelchy keys pair surprisingly well with Letissier’s arch French pop. This sum is greater than its parts, and the collaboration is one sick, sneaky groove. One of the best singles I’ve heard this year.

Reader average: [8.83] (6 votes)

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One Response to “Christine and The Queens ft. Dâm-Funk – Girlfriend”

  1. Wow lots to say I fell asleep at how cute is Chris