Christine & The Queens - 'Chris'

8/10

When French frontwoman Héloïse Letissier released her debut album 'Chaleur Humaine' back in 2014, it was born out of a frustration of not wanting to be herself on record. Having been a gay woman in France all her life, she still felt like an outcast in her own country and took the guise of Christine to project the feelings of isolation through the lens of pop music. Taking this premise to a new heights on her second studio album, the now androgynous frontwoman is going by the name Chris in an attempt to blur the lines between male and female popstars, giving one of her greatest performances in the process.

From the start, 'Chris' looks to tap into the sun-kissed pop-rock sound that bands like Haim have been pushing their whole career. With a more minimal yet atmospheric production, Héloïse's vocals look to take centre stage on this new release, giving far more attention to her lyrics than the music surrounding them. In which we find a more confident, blossoming individual who is looking to compromise less on who she is and simply looking to be taken seriously in a world that focuses far too hard on gimmicks and throwaway ideas.

Overall, 'Chris' is a far brighter and ambitious record when compared to her debut. With a focused and succinct direction, the album unleashes one thought-provoking pop single after another, making for a truly engaging listen. The record may have been written through the eyes of an alter-ego, but we get a sense that this is more in line to the true Héloïse Letissier, brimming with positive energy and impeccable in her craft.

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