Alizée – Gourmandises

After Alizée‘s exceptional debut with Moi… Lolita in 2000, it didn’t take long before her first album Gourmandises appeared (although the English language version took a little longer, and replaced a number of songs with attempts at translation). But was she just a one-hit wonder?

Unsurprisingly, it takes more than one track to find out, as the album opens with Moi… Lolita, which now, fifteen years on, is every bit as good as it was back then. Written by Mylène Farmer, it hit the top spot in numerous countries around the world back in 2000. It’s a great pop song – you can fault it, just as you can anything in the genre – but if you’re able to accept pop as pop, then this is great.

Lui ou toi is good too – it doesn’t quite have the hooks of the first song, and it feels a bit robotic in places (Alizée would have still been pretty young when it was recorded) but if nothing else, she had a good songwriting team behind her.

Which isn’t to say it’s always a success – L’Alizé is pretty poor, and J.B.G. could easily be forgotten, but when they do get it right, all the elements are there. Even when they don’t, you’ll probably find yourself nodding along in time to the rhythm.

Things turn a bit urban with the beat and spoken lyrics of Mon maquis, but this is one of the better songs on here – the second half kicks off in spectacularly poor form with Parler tout bas and Veni Vedi Vici, both of which seem to go on pretty much forever.

Fortunately, from a low point there’s really only one way up, and Gourmandises gets steadily better towards the end. In spite of the slightly annoying cat/baby samples, Abracadabra is a good enough song, although you probably won’t remember it for too long. The title track Gourmandises is good, with its stabbing orchestral pad sounds that hint slightly of the 1980s.

Enormous pads, accompanied by childlike chimes, become something of a theme with the sweet, lullaby-like A quoi rêve une jeune fille. It’s hardly going to win any acclaim for songwriting, but it’s a really lovely way to end an album.

So one-hit wonder she was not, and fifteen years on, Alizée‘s debut effort has aged surprisingly well. If you don’t live in a French-speaking country and you aren’t a fan of hers then you probably won’t be remotely aware of the five albums which have followed, but she does appear to have built up a legacy. And this is where it all started.

Various versions and releases of Gourmandises exist – if you were playing along today then you would have been listening to this one.


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