Monday, March 18th, 2019

Vendredi sur Mer – Chewing-Gum

Mais c’est lundi…?


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David Moore: Disaffected French talk-sing over funky clav — c’est mon herbe à chat, even before the flute floats in.
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: All the exact (steely, immense) pleasures of previous single “Écoute Chérie,” plus a synth that’s like trying to make a Game Boy sound louche.
[8]

Alfred Soto: It’s got Andrea True and Black Box Recorder on the brain: blank talk-singing over lovely instrumental filigrees. Air too. This Gallic patisserie could be faster and keep the flute and clavinet.
[7]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Sensuous talk-singing is a well-worn French staple but Vendredi sur Mer knows how to make sure it doesn’t sound like tired nostalgia for Chanson of old. The synths dot “Chewing Gum” in an assortment of colors, its many insistent pulses feeling at once urgent and nonchalant. There are splashes of synth chords that ooze warmth, and a mystical flute melody that graces the song for only a short while. Producer Reggie OfMan has created cozy beats for Rejjie Snow and his own solo work, but never have they sounded so dazzling.
[7]

Iris Xie:  My first thought was that the slinky, patient synth, the dominant melody, reminds me of the start of the “Aloof” and “Heavyweight” sections of Bob Fosse’s “Rich Man Frug” choreography, but updated and played at 0.75-times speed. They both have that same slightly sensual but mostly jaunty attitude, where you dance aspirationally to the song to the level of coolness expressed. They also both contain novel metaphors: “Aloof” shows how the elite reinforce imposing power dynamics through a plucked and pretentious guitar and harsh woodwinds, and “Heavyweight” uses boxing match chimes to show how high society throws their weight around (hah), while Vendredi sur Mer goes for something sweeter but as resigned to the circumstance. “Memories, I have tons of them; under the tables our chewing gum” is memorable and concrete, and wraps into tangible details that once traced a carefree connection. Here, the sad disco conceit is elegant and pared down to just the necessary elements — a throbbing bassline and a well-placed flute melody that hits at the heart of longing with the couplets that start with: “J’avais gravé ton nom.” Those two sections also sound like a much better-delivered version of the stilted cadences that are often not used to their fullest power in pop music: e.g. Lady Gaga in “Dance in the Dark.” But overall, the coolness is just accessible enough, especially when Vendredi sur Mer effortlessly breathes “Je crois que s’aimer ne/Je crois que s’aimer ne suffit pas” or “I think that loving each other does not/…I believe that loving oneself is not enough.” The refrain is familiar, and a sentiment that is worn through so many of us. But I could stand to be pierced in the heart again, so as long as I can dance dispassionately in acknowledgement of our collective melancholy, in this space created by “Chewing Gum.” 
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Thomas Inskeep: Vaguely ’80s-accented synthpop that’s fine, sounds good, and isn’t all that special.
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Iain Mew: A performance sounding as rich as it does cool, gliding across a simple and direct old synth sound; being familiar doesn’t mean it can’t still work. The only disappointment is the moment after a pause when she sounds like she is just about to start rapping and then inexplicably doesn’t.
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David Sheffieck: The bubbly production and sleek vocals play off each other beautifully, and the titular metaphor is quietly heartbreaking. Vendredi sur Mer combines them into an irresistibly catchy sad bop, too cool for a club but perfect for a bedroom dance.
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