Turns out all it takes to get a Free at Noon crowd dancing that early in the day is permission from Christine and the Queens, a French artist with contagious confidence. But last time the singer, songwriter and producer played a show in Philadelphia, her project looked quite different. Héloïse Letissier was just beginning to find international success with her debut EP, released in French as Chaleur Humaine and in English as a self-titled Christine and the Queens. She’s still recording in both English and French, but this time her new album is simply called Chris, in both languages.
Part of the artist’s reinvention involved shortening her moniker to Chris, and sometimes displaying it as Chris
tine and the Queens. A bigger shift, though, came in her newfound, liberating approach to songwriting as she began to explore the confines of gender, settling into an androgynous appearance and writing music more sharply focused than her previous work. The songs on Chris may be influenced by 80s pop and iconic musicians from David Bowie to Michael Jackson, but as a recent profile on Chris in the New York Times points out, her thoroughly modern lyrics, many about eschewing traditional expectations, counter her retro sound. Continue reading →