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Lou Reed Fan Club (Paris Branch)

Jul 12

Written by:
Thursday, July 12, 2007  RssIcon

There seems to be a trend among female singers in Paris at the moment: sounding like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.

In the last twelve months there have been three noteworthy albums drawing on the Velvets' distinctive droning guitar sound and the spoken-word vocal style of Reed's solo records.

We've already mentioned Ultra Orange and Emmanuelle - the group fronted by Emmanuelle Seigner (right), the French actress and wife of Roman Polanski. The band's eponymous album was released earlier this year, led off by VU-esque single 'Sing Sing'.

Keren-Ann (left) is not French - she was born in Israel and raised in the Netherlands. However, she moved to France at age 11 and her early albums were in French - which is why she's filed among the French singers in Paris record shops.

Her self-titled fifth album was recorded in Paris and New York - indeed, its opening two tracks, the singles 'It Ain't No Crime' and 'Lay Your Head Down' sound heavily influenced by Reed's 'New York' album.

As for Keren-Ann's record, it's a fine album of intimate folk-flavoured songs that also draw heavily on Leonard Cohen.

However, trumping both Emmanuelle and Keren-Ann is one Vanessa Contenay-Quinones (right). Her band Vanessa And The O's (featuring James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins on guitar) released a fabulous album last year called 'The Story Of O'.

It's a veritable VU tribute album; not only does Vanessa sound like a more tuneful Nico, but she also drops numerous Reed references into her songs. There's even a track called 'J'Attends Lou' ('I'm Waiting For Lou').

If grabbing the attention of the great man was her objective then it's certainly worked - Vanessa has recently been recording tracks with Reed in New York.

From 'The Story of O', here's a very glamorous-looking Vanessa posing around London in the video for the unbearably catchy 'Bagatelle', the best French single of 2006:

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2 comment(s) so far...

Re: Lou Reed Fan Club (Paris Branch)

Lou must be in seventh heaven since Nico wasn't so enamoured of the great man in the 1960s

By Rev Jules on   Thursday, July 12, 2007

Re: Lou Reed Fan Club (Paris Branch)

Couldn't agree more, Vanessa Contenay-Quinones is far and away the 'it' girl of the three..Emmanuelle might match her in the eye candy department but that's as far as that contest goes, Ultra Orange is cute as a VU homage but doesn't hold a candle to 'LA Ballade d'O' the O's debut musically, songwise or melodically..Keren-Ann does quite nice stuff, not bad and I see the Lou/Hazlewood refs there but it's a bit po-faced isn't? She's for sure no Nico baby Vanessa is however [and how!] only as you say better vocally and she does seem to understand naturally the playfulness of Lou (and Gainsbourg I might add) lyrically, I don't get the impression she's trying too hard to do that either, the words flow nicely in both french and english...maybe that's just her....her pop side reflects Lou's too, again without trying too hard and sounding studied or forced [as on J'attend Lou]..yes indeed it's little wonder she received the great mans approval so completely with the Sunday Morning duet they recorded, that's a bit of fun, kinda like it but if her own 'J'attend Lou' had featured Lou....ahhh..well now that would have been just about heavensent for this fan....of both! I think we got a real artist here with this girl..gotta cherish that These Days...;)Vincent

By ShinyShiny 2007 on   Monday, September 01, 2008

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Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

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