In the whirlwind of cultural autumn, we didn’t have time to listen to There’s Nothing That I’m Not, by Arielle Soucy, released on October 20. But we have recovered well since the beginning of December, and each listening to this first album with its heady beauty increases our delight. The young singer-songwriter’s folk music is timeless and evokes Julie Doiron as much as the McGariggle sisters, but it is also very personal. His use of English and French – sometimes in the same song! – never seems forced, his words are full of sweetness and candor, and his multiple harmonies are astonishing and rich. With her unique voice, Arielle Soucy already has a unique signature, and our great regret is not having listened to her before!

In 1971, Marvin Gaye sang “You know we’ve got to find a way, Bring some understanding here today, Come on, talk to me,” on What’s Going On, the best soul rock album in history. He painted a realistic portrait of the daily life of African-Americans in the United States – then engaged in the Vietnam War – against a musical background of Motown, R’n’B, soul and funk. More than 50 years later, ANOHNI sings “It must change, The way you talk to me, it must change” on My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross, the best soul rock album of 2023. For its part, ANOHNI leads the fight for the acceptance of trans people within American society. And does so under the obvious musical inspirations of What’s Going On. The artist’s warm voice is attached to sliding electric guitars, celestial choirs and heavy drums. ANOHNI wants to be the current artist most in tune with the musical legacy left by Gaye.

We met Vincent Segal with the percussionist Cyril Atef within Bumcello, at the turn of the 2000s. He has collaborated since then (from Elvis Costello to Césaria Evora), but above all developed a bond with the Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko. The pair team up here with another tandem formed by accordionist Vincent Peirani and saxophonist Émilie Parisien under the name Les égarés. This unusual quartet willingly takes side roads: jazz, oriental convolutions, melodies that seem to come from the Balkans, memories of musette waltz, they ignore all borders, taking us on a fabulous journey where virtuosity remains sensitive and where everyone finds their place naturally. This bias for sounds that want to see the country is affirmed in the title of a cover by Joe Zawinul, Orient Express. Didn’t this emblematic train cross Europe to the gates of the Orient? Gorgeous.

I came across this album late, but it has stayed with me since I heard it for the first time. Published last summer, this new offering from King Krule reaffirms the scale of what the Londoner has to offer. He slowed down the tempo for this record with surprising orchestrations, omnipresent softness and jolts of always pleasant punk flights. The jazzy side which intrudes here and there amplifies the uniqueness of this musical object which never disappoints. Full of nuances, Space Heavy has a ravishing aura, a strength in its melodies and rhythm that I find stunning.

I didn’t miss this album, released in February. I was just waiting for the vinyl record to enjoy it. Because Willie The Kid has been my favorite rapper for several years and the same goes for V Don in the producer category. Blue Notes 2 is their seventh collaboration and the soundscape of this series is perfect for cold days. Together, they create a refined and hushed rap that transports us to a luxurious hotel bar or, in this case, to the edge of a fire in an Alpine chalet. V Don’s compositions are punctuated by strong percussion which he combines wonderfully with piano, strings and soft and melodious samples. Willie is a master of multisyllabic rhymes, in addition to having an extraordinary vocabulary and exquisite flow. Treat yourself and discover this duo this winter.

Polly Jean Harvey’s tenth album is a unique work filled with mysticism bathed in the vaporous light of the forest of her native Dorset. In I Inside the Old Year Dying, the 54-year-old singer sets to music the story of little Ira-Abel Rawles, told in her collection of poems Orlam, published in 2022. Victim of an attack, the little one takes refuge in the forest, which becomes for her a haven of peace open to the world of spirits. The record came out in the middle of summer, while I was on family vacation. However, as luck would have it, I was in the countryside in the west of England. When on my return I took the time to listen carefully to PJ Harvey’s new songs, they took on their full meaning, despite being written partly in the Dorset vernacular. The melodies, both soft and strange, often sung in a fragile falsetto that clashes, weave a disturbing atmosphere towards which we are invariably drawn, always a little more with each listen.

There is nothing more reassuring than seeing, with each generation, new disappointed dreamers embrace the hopelessly dreary legacy of The Cure. Nothing is more moving than seeing that the chain of tears has not been interrupted. At Élégie, a trio from Quebec who received a helping hand from a certain Hubert Lenoir, passion is painful, suffering comforting, but hope always fights. “I want much more than what is offered to me,” announces in the title piece of Romantisme the singer Lawrence Villeneuve, a proud and disastrous descendant of the young Werther of Goethe and Ian Curtis, constantly afflicted by the “consequences of constantly mistaking crows for angels.” Let us accept our sentence: love will tear us apart, again.