10th October 2018

Album Review: Chris by Christine & The Queens

Urussa Malik pictures Christine & The Queens’ new album as needed push for change in social norms – along with being a stunning piece in its own right.
Album Review: Chris by Christine & The Queens
Photo: Steven Pisano @ Flickr

Christine & The Queens‘ new album Chris is a stunner. Embracing her androgynously beautiful looks to new heights, Christine embodies an aesthetic, which combined with her music, is surreally good.  She also claims to be “playing around with the male gaze” as outlined in a Guardian interview, thus creating a cheeky, brazen dynamic.

There seems to be no escaping Christine’s music without mentioning her theatrical aesthetic which permeates every single one of her music videos. It is hardly style over substance, however, with Christine appearing to embrace a new-found confidence in all aspects of this record.

‘Girlfriend’, the second track on the album, sounds like a classic from the first note and is overtly laced with innuendo before reaching a simple, yet incredibly catchy, chorus. I am in awe of how she manipulates her words so well so as to become an auditory beauty. In the video, a whole masculine entity is embodied with the flexing of her arms. Her shoulders and hips move in unison with a group of male dancers, echoing Christine’s blurring of gender binaries. Yet again, she infuses the dramatic element when the lighting goes haywire and she gives a performance to match.

‘Doesn’t Matter’ is a dance sequence embellished with an aggression between Christine and a boy. A struggle ensues and the dance ceases to be comical it degenerates to the point that Christine is strewn over the floor, having exhausted herself of… herself? Purposefully, the lyrics don’t seem to follow the beat of the song. The chorus is extravagantly existential: “It doesn’t matter does it? […] If I believe in God, and if God exists”. “Uh, I soliloquise” seems a meta-reference whereby her audience are suddenly privy to her inner thoughts, but can they be? Regardless, she ends the song with the damning “It doesn’t matter, does it?”.

‘5 dollars’ is a croon of a tune whilst the video starkly focuses on her muscles and scratches – she seems to mock metrosexuality by revealing its softer, theatrical side. The real tease is when the clothes are put on – the whole routine of dressing up and absolutely feeling yourself and my god, I would feel it too if I was her.

‘Goya soda’ has a hymn-like background melody fused with funk for its introduction – the chime adds a hallucinatory feel to the song with the chorus flitting between French and English lyrics. If anything, it sounds more like Urdu to me by the time the chorus arrives. A whole French verse follows, adding to the psychedelic fleeting that the entire song is harbouring. The piano solo at the end captures this radical fluidity very well.

Christine & The Queens will be touring Europe soon so do make yourself familiar with the album first. You don’t want to pass out in public when you hear them for the first time.


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