Italo-German couple dissect French singer Lou Doillon's debut album

Article published on Oct. 11, 2012
Article published on Oct. 11, 2012
The It Girl, actress and model has become a singer-composer for the release of her first opus 'Places', which has been reviled and applauded. Known as the 'arrogant daughter of' Jane Birkin and Jacques Doillon, the Franco-Brit keeps a pitiless arm away from critics. That didn’t stop a German fan and an Italian reactionary from giving their opinions

Federico: Are you not fed up of all these daddy’s girls who do nothing all day long, and then suddenly decide to become singers, as if they’re buying a new pair of shoes?

Katharina: What’s that supposed to mean? Jane Birkin’s daughter has no right to forge a career in music and must be deprived of her talent to stay at home? Besides, let's not talk about her background all time, but let's talk about music. Her debut album (Places, released by Barclay in September 2012) really surprised me. I have listened to it several times and I really like certain songs, such as I.C.U and Devil or Angel.

F: Even Birkin didn’t have the right to destroy our hearing with her inexistent voice. We paid a high price for good old Serge’s (Gainsbourg) talent. He imposed his concubines on us. They didn’t have the qualities to live under his shadow, look at Brigitte Bardot. Remember the song Lemon Incest with his daughter Charlotte;all that was lemon about that song was her acid voice. I'm sure this is what made (American singer) Beck ill last year (during their duet - ed)! Doillon’s album is very boring. What new things does it offer?

'We paid a high price for good old Serge Gainsbourg's talent. He imposed his partners on us'

K: Listen, maybe the rhythm slows down towards the end – and there’s something depressing about the title track (Places). But Doillon has also found some kind of charm in this melancholic folk album. There’s a pretty tone, and her range moves to husky and sensual. It reminds me of Patti Smith, mixed with a bit of Amy Winehouse

F: Yes, yes - she was inspired by Winehouse, who was inspired by Sarah Vaughan, who was inspired by Nina Simone, who was inspired by Ella Fitzgerald. What’s original about that?

K: Don’t exaggerate; all art has its references. Don’t forget that she wrote this album herself and that she has been in the music industry for a long time.

F: It doesn’t surprise me that she wrote it all by herself. How can you ignore the originality of a song entitled Jealousy or not fall in love by the deeply moving opening lyric: 'I see you in every cab that goes by, in the strangers at every cross roads, in every bar'. When I think of the fact that it was produced by the same record company which produced Léo Ferré - it's shameful.

F: 'It's the same label which produced Léo Ferré - that's shameful'

K: Oh really? The other day when you were listening to it you told me that you liked that song. You’re always stroking your own ego, like a Frenchman who overanalyses everything to the point of destroying its artistic spontaneity. This girl combines two things which work well together: her little France Gall fashion look and the English language, which has the advantage of securing the international market. Music doesn’t end with Léo Ferré.

F: Ok, that song’s not bad, but the thing is: how many good musicians are there who can compose songs as good as that but who can’t afford to produce a demo? I am sick of the fact that you have to be good-looking to get somewhere in the business. I want good music which tells stories - not empty 'places' which are cool and well-designed, manufactured products by record companies which act like architects.

F: 'The album cover is the only memorable thing about the album'K: So how do you explain that almost all French critics - unanimously and unsurprisingly - praised this debut album ('chipped-elegant tone of voice', 'fascinating', 'the best musical surprise')? Her change of career has got off to a better start compared to those of other 'stars' - think Mélanie Laurent, Christophe Hondelatte, and so on. There’s a long list.

F: There is only one thing that marks for the dawn of this new career. It's the album cover which obviously impressed critics the most. It’s very well designed, with a very beautiful photo, printed on beautiful material, etc. The true analysis of this piece of work is just that: a container without content.

Images: main © KK and FI; in-text courtesy of Lou Doillon official site and facebook page/ video (cc) UniversalMusicFrance/ youtube