Christine and the Queens
Redcar les adorables étoiles (Prologue)
Christine and the Queens’ singer-songwriter expanded the project’s official alias to “Christine and the Queens presents Redcar,” but don’t be shocked if he dismantles its meaning as previous efforts have shown over time. Chris Letissier has never been afraid of leveling dusty gender norms, as most recently demonstrated with popular collaborations alongside Charli XCX and Caroline Polachek. The French singer-songwriter recently changed his pronouns to he/him across social media as a way to express his new identity. He added that “Redcar” references his poetry, and the new stage name attributes to the “poetry and philosophy that helps [him] be successful.”
Images of red cars have since dotted the landscape of Letissier’s social media channels and website. It’s a significant brand shift, but also a personal one. Red cars are often associated with speed, power, and a dynamic element of raw sensuality in popular culture. The French-language album, entitled Redcar les adorables étoiles (Prologue), embodies most of these raw elements as it charges along with 13 avant-garde electro-pop tracks.
Redcar is the first musical salvo in an upcoming series of French- and English-language albums co-produced and mixed by Mike Dean under the new alias. Prologue slinks into the frame and adds some transitory suaveness and sparkle to a well-established pop career with the bass—synths or guitars—serving as the steady heartbeat for most of these sophisticated songs of love, loss, and longing.
The lyrical themes of Redcar are more allegorical than previous Christine and the Queens songs on 2014’s Chaleur humaine and 2018’s Chris. For example, early electro-pop single “Je te vois enfin” sees Letissier wafting over the bass beat in a dream-like tone as the French lyrics speak of Chris as a forest-dwelling animal lost in thought: “I remember young animal I was running so far / Into the forest to look for my path,” the lyrics translate. “I was lost but counted only the present.”
“La Chanson du chevalier,” “Les étoiles,” and “Looking for Love” all possess hard-charging synth beats that feel pulled from an ’80s cyberpunk world, and “Angelus” dials the experimental production up a notch with plenty of effects roiling just under the vocal mix. There are a few moments of icy ’90s R&B-pop (“My Birdman”) and midnight funk balladry (“Combien de temps”) to help add some variety to a very electronic-heavy release.
Redcar feels a bit like a deferred thought overall—which is fair, since this operatic piece of music is only just the beginning of Letissier’s current musical journey. Watch the open road ahead for new turns and signs. Keep Redcar’s radio on, though. The steering wheel already has some pretty deep grooves in it.