Les Rita Mitsouko – les punk chansones
19 my 2007
The French band as a brand new album, Variety
Sensual dark-haired chanteuse Catherine Ringer has always liked art more than school. After an adolescence pursuing an acting career that included some porn— including a film in which she was billed as »Lolita da Novo«— she then created sensational chaos in France's musical scene with Frédéric Chichin, her collaborator.
the actress met the drummer and guitarist who loved the scene more
than bread, they clicked.
The turning point for both of them was year 1979. The encounter was both emotional and creative Bingo. Soul mates had found each other. It was one of most bizarre duets ever. When they had scraped the last bit of butter in their poor kitchen—and they had eaten from ironing board (remember the film American in Paris!)— they would start composing again. Punk chansons with a touch of electronic sound were original, but it took a while to get noticed.
A single Don't Forget the Nite from 1981 had enabled them just that, to be noticed, seen and heard. They managed somehow to remain in Virginu. They still needed a »hit« so as they could spread also honey over buttered bread for the money they earn entertaining people – every artist's dream – and the hit was song Marcia Baïla.
Everything has gone smoothly ever since. Or almost ever since. Their first LP Les Rita Mitsouko made stars of them. They probably hit the mark – audience's taste; at the time, to my mind, soap-like tones of slimy dance music of 1983 and 1984 anticipated the breakthrough of Latin soaps that were to come few years later. Les Rita Mitsouko were not »soapy« at all, as the men who dug their exotic appearance spoke in their favour.
The tours came all over Japan and United States. It was enough just to take a look at them to realize what a party they created on the scene! Their cartoon-like videos—made in spirit of the pastiched pop art of the sixties—were holidays for eyes.
But when they had succeeded to make their second album better than their debut, they proved that they did not become a success story by accident. The No Comprendo is one of the very best vinyl records of all times. (Just listen to the song, C'est comme ça.)
The time came for them to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. They had a good time. They played music. Catherine returned to acting, her greatest love. They could eat caviar and drink best champagne. However, their next album did not sell well, who knows why. Perhaps they wanted too much to indulge capricious audience? I think it was not the case. I will never figure what was wrong with that record. Even Sparks, who were guest singers on the album, sounded so Mitsouko-like, as they were their newly discovered American cousins.
But they have already been established. The couple also had children. There was no need to hurry. So they had returned with album Système D. They had Iggy Pop as a guest. They had begun to cover chansons and I was particularly moved to hear Catherine sing Charles Trenet's chansones who was still alive and active at the time. He is to my mind the greatest genius of entertaining music of all times.
Performances on small stages even in Canada, not to mention small clubs in United States and France were jewels in the memory for each fan of that bizarre duo.
And then they disappeared. From time to time one could read in the newspaper that Catherine alone sings in a club. There were rumours of Fred's poor health, even that he is dead. During the last years of millenium they tested how much they are »modern« for young listeners. They didn't have to persuade their fans, they alwas could count on 500 eager admirers.
The band's comeback album resembled Blondie's album, No Exit. I'll say no more about it. Well, that feeling on these Rita Mitsouko's test gigs were the same as during Debbie Harry's tour 2003. The two old ages were movingly brought together in an effervescent blend of nostalgia; the audience and the performers tried so hard to be younger than they really are. Mutual forgiveness. The last stadium of love – naïve psychologists say.
On the later album they recorded few covers again, for example the one of Serge Gainsbourg. Album "La Femme Trombone" was halfway between possible new listeners and old fans – it did not disappoint the latter but it did not attract the former either.
CD – Variety – Catherine Ringer engaged Serje Tankian from System
of a Down!
In Parisian club La Boule Noire Rita Mitsouko had gigs as late as early in March; late in April thea will also play in La Cigale. People obviously liked the new material.
Album is recommended to all fans – sound is the same, just little bit slower, as for instance was Blondie’s Maria, but Rita Mitsouko remained faithful to their style, unlike “eclecticism” in Blondie’s No Exit.
Label Because Music.
The first single came out on March 5th – Communiqueur d'amour.