resim 588
resim 588

Resuming Bashung is a daring gesture as his songs are stuck to his voice, his tone, his phrasing, in short, his unique way. It is necessary to manage to make this strange language sound natural while letting hear what is behind the images shaped to escape interpretations that are too literal. It is necessary to stage the poetic shocks without underlining them so as not to lose the emotional charge. And we must not water down the many erotic innuendos…

The start of Les Chevaux du Plaisir is promising: the few guitar notes in the intro of I missed you and the chic western atmosphere quickly woven by the sounds and arrangements show the desire to give this song the panache that she claims. Prudent, Isabelle Boulay wedges her voice on the melody once sung by Bashung without taking too many liberties. She will hardly dare to move away from her guide, moreover, throughout the disc.

Most of the album is skilfully held in a zone close to refined country-folk, more or less tempted by rock, depending on the moment. It fits perfectly with I pass for a caravan, one of the most successful songs. No express, on the other hand, loses part of its emotional charge under a panoply of arrangements that are nevertheless intended to be economical. The only real surprise on the disc on the musical level, Ma petite entreprise, made pop and almost groovy by a fused melodic line. Maybe it’s a way to show that the song isn’t really about a small business owner…

And the interpreter? She advances in these pieces with a certain precaution. She generally lets the meaning float (she does not underline the underside of Madame rêve, the most sensual text of the album), without soaking everything too much in the melancholy that we know her. She sometimes stays on the surface of things, like on No Express, a heartbreaking song that she renders with more distance than restraint, and we regret not feeling enough of the mischievous smile that Bashung subtly breathed into her fleeting songs.

Isabelle Boulay, however, never seems to be parachuted into this universe which, obviously, inhabits her. She has the elegance needed to approach these pieces. His singing lacks a bit of spice, but his voice is, as always, magnificent, full of nuances. She does not make Bashung’s songs whinny, but is immediately one of the few who have been able to put them on without being thrown off their feet.