Christine and The Queens's 'Redcar': An Exercise In Emotional Exploration


Photo by Drew de F. Fawkes via Wikimedia Commons (licensed under CC-BY-2.0)


Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) is Christine and The Queens’ fourth studio album. It has been marketed as a prologue to the fifth album which is due to be released in early 2023. Redcar, also known as Christine and the Queens (or 'Chris' for short), set himself the challenge of writing and recording a body of work in two weeks: an exercise in creative catharsis. The 13-track long Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) is the result of this challenge.

In the run up to the album’s release on Friday, Redcar wrote on Instagram: "This cycle of music that is announcing itself with REDCAR has been the most transformative one of my life so far, and it’s not devoid of pain, for the stretching [sic] is deeply existential". In August of this year Redcar came out as trans, saying "I’ve been a man for a year now"; it was around this time he adopted the name Redcar/Red. He named himself and his album after cars he saw repeatedly following the sudden death of his mother in 2019. He explained in an interview with the Guardian; “Redcar is me, too. It’s me right now. Broken down. [A] suited, demented man, questing for angels”. Referring to his multiplicity of names, he noted, “I just have many names for all the layers.”

The album has obvious 80s influences: it is heavy on the synth, reminiscent of the likes of Les Rita Mitsouko and Sparks, with a definite nod to David Bowie in its theatrical and melodramatic approach to pop music. Track one ‘Ma bien aimée bye bye’ (‘My beloved bye bye’), with its meditative synths and simple yet harrowing refrain: "my wife 'til I die

so long, oh, my baby long gone", sets the tone for an album that is preoccupied with love, sex and heartbreak, clouded by grief and existentialism. 'Tu sais ce qu'il me faut' then breaks you out of the trance state established by the prior track, with Red’s chanting chorus and electric guitar solo harking back to 80s boogie. 'La chanson du chevalier' follows; in my opinion, this was the strongest single released ahead of the full album. The horror synths and layered vocals create an overstated and dramatic atmosphere, reflective of the stupor of uncomfortable emotion that the album evokes.

After a strong and atmospheric start, the songs do start to blend into one another somewhat. This is not necessarily a flaw, as it does feel meditative. When appreciated as a challenge in creative catharsis from a grief-stricken artist, this disjointed yet hypnotic mix makes sense.

Speaking to the Guardian, Red reflected on the depth of his new album: "I’m still grieving, [and] I’m changing, and I don’t think society helps at all. Society doesn’t help people connect to a truth that could be out[side] of consumerism. I feel… I feel just very angry."

Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) is the work of an artist in an uncomfortable and dissatisfied period, where music has been the medium through which he explores such emotions. Red has been vocal about compromises and disagreements between himself and his record label when creating this new body of work. Consequently, Redcar les adorables étoiles (prologue) is an incredibly raw album that may feel angry and confused at times, but such notions are plausibly intentional. They are reflective of an artist kicking back against societal constraints whilst navigating an intensely personal time in his life.



To keep up with Christine and the Queens, you can find him on Instagram, Twitter, and his website.

 

Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor



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