2021 promises to be as engaged in public and political spheres as in recording studios. Exactly, veteran Zachary Richard leads the local charge with this simple bringing together two versions – a gospel, a folk – of Letter from Birmingham, a song inspired by a landmark episode in the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
Letter from Birmingham
FROM MLK TO BLM
A few months after the collective awareness accompanying the Black Lives Matter movement, the Acadian singer is inspired here by a famous letter from Martin Luther King Jr. and also refers to Bloody Sunday (bloody sunday) where, during a symbolic march demanding the right to vote for African Americans, 600 demonstrators were beaten up by the police. In his famous letter posted in 1963, the pastor notably defends non-violent resistance to racism and also invites disobedience to unjust laws.
More than half a century later, the message remains as evocative as it is topical, indeed.
To return to the pieces, the militant artist also puts forward a certain opposition against a background of agreed gospel and folk music, but oh so effective. Although Richard’s text is rather wise and succinct – we would have taken more, in short … which is often characteristic of a promising work – it resonates and, above all, testifies to the impact that the BLM movement may have.
Will other Living Legends get wet and throw their proverbial hats in the arena in 2021? I hope so.
Adaptation, vol. 2
A year after a first maxi to appropriate material released on his electro label in a minimalist way, Julien Manaud adds a new selection of covers stripped of effects, but loaded with emotions, mainly accompanied by the pianist Alexis Corn. Even without the references, the exercise remains as interesting as it is calming.
Nobody Is Listening
Almost three years later Icarus fall, an epic work of 27 songs generally well received by critics, the pop R&B performer returns to the charge with – and I quote – his “most personal album to date”. Unfortunately, the empty phrase doesn’t end there as Nobody Is Listening crumbles under sometimes minimalist rooms trendy (think “Lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax / study to” on YouTube, but with Zayn who sang as a bonus), sometimes cruelly beige. Especially for the fans.
A true Swiss musical knife, the director, singer and musician Jeannot Bournival (Les Tireux d’roches, Fred Pellerin and so on) adds a new “blade” to his kit with Lavabo. After having given in the trad and jazz, in particular, Bournival opts for a formula a little more folk while leaving a place of choice to his previous passions on this project. The result is an uninhibited maxi combining unexpected covers (by Plastic Patrick and Stromae) as well as slightly saucy compositions. Cordial, in short.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
The Georgia EP
Ben Gibbard and his pals pay homage to a fertile ground of American alternative rock – Georgia – with this maxi adapting classics of local heroes like REM and Neutral Milk Hotel. The result is a jagged listening (the resumption of Fall on me is cruelly soft, for example, but that of The King of Carrot Flowers. Pt. One, however, amazes), but still nice.