Day 5: Pierre Lapointe – Chansons Hivernales

Canadian and Quebecois artist Pierre Lapointe has released a Christmas album entitled Chansons Hivernales (Winter songs). The songs are originals, talking about the bittersweet aspect of the holiday, as well as melancholy.

The music is Holiday with Christmas Pop and some Indie music. The compositions are rhythmic with an impressive mix of musical styles from different genres. The songs reflect the holiday season’s melancholy and struggles, including beats that go up and down. This record’s music parallels 70’s French music classics, such as Sylvie Vartan, Michel Sardou, and Charles Aznavour. There are also the musical influences of British Glam Rock and the classical music of the 30s. Ce qu’on sait déjà (What we already know) is a tune, according to the iTunes information, has a 70s British Glam Rock. Julyan Lenoir composed this song and another one entitled Ça va, j’ai donné (I gave it my all, did what I could) with boldness. Six Heures D’avion Nous Séparent (Six hours of flight separate us) has an upbeat sound that boldly contrasts to the song’s subject of a breakup.  L’oiseau rare (the rare bird) has a rhythm similar to Michel Sardou’s La Maladie D’Amour (The lovesickness), but with a slower beat. Chez Clara (at Clara’s place) has an incredible mix of fast-slow-fast to reflect the emotions of joy and melancholy, along with the disappointment of celebrations ending. Noël Lougawou (with Melissa Laveaux) is has a remarkable sound close to Indie music. The music in this album is a combination of classic French with Modern crooner sound. 

Pierre Lapointe’s voice is smooth and rhythmic, hitting the high notes nicely. He sings about the melancholy of the Christmas season with grace and finesse. He has fantastic duets with Mika in Six Heures D’avion Nous Séparent (Six hours of flight separate us) and Melissa Laveaux in Noël Lougawou. His vocal style of crooner is incredible. 

The lyrics describe the forgotten aspects of the Christmas/Holiday season: heartbreak and family drama.  
Chaque Année On y Revient (Every year we come back) covers the family drama that many don’t mention during Christmas. It’s a bittersweet sentiment because, on the one hand, relatives can drive us crazy, and on the other, we sometimes can’t imagine it any other way. It’s a strange paradox that one has accepted with time.
     The song Le premier Noël de Jules ( Jules’ First Christmas )is a holiday homage to Pierre Lapointe’s Godson, whom he can’t visit because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s a relatable subject as many of us can’t gather with loved ones or visit the family to meet the newborns due to COVID.

Many songs cover the relatable topic of heartbreak – starting with  Ce qu’on sait déjà (What we already know) is about unusual relationships, according to iTunes’ description that one doesn’t know how to label it.
Ça va, j’ai donné (I gave it my all, did what I could) is about the general heartbreaks in life where a man tries his best at something, but it didn’t work out. It’s about accepting reality and has the essential message to be kind to yourself.
L’oiseau rare (the rare bird) is a deep and touching song about a short-lived love that doesn’t make it to the new year. It’s a sad and well-detailed tune about heartbreak during the holiday season.
Six heures d’avion nous séparent with MIKA (Six hours of flight separate us) is about a breakup because the long-distance relationship just isn’t working out.
Toutes les couleurs (All the colours) is a poetic tune referring to life after Christmas and New Years’, which can extra hard for those dealing with difficult times. It’s well-written.
Un Noël perdu Dans Paris  (A Christmas wasted in Paris) is an incredible story-telling song about a guy going to Paris with high expectations to distract himself from a separation. However, he feels disappointed and still heartbroken. The references to French pop culture, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, are smart and precise.
Maman, Papa (Mom, Dad) is a touching story with a personal feel to a story about a man and his relationship with his partner rejected by his family.

In contrast to the heartbreak songs, there are incredibly theatrical ones. 
The first example is Chez Clara (at Clara’s place) starts with a happy mood; then it slows down with melancholy as the party ends. It’s a bittersweet message about how many of us feel when celebrations from Clara’s perspective.
Noël Lougawou with Melissa Laveaux is an impressive one because it’s in French and Creole, a bold move. Although I don’t speak Creole, the words sound cheerful and festive.

The album Chansons Hivernales is available.

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