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Benjamin Biolay in the U.S.A.

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jfmoods
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MessageSujet: Benjamin Biolay in the U.S.A. Mer 9 Déc 2009 - 22:50

-> http://fraisevanille.wordpress.com/cabir-davis/
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Cabir Davis

Album Reviews on December 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

Benjamin Biolay : “La Superbe” (2-CD, 2009)

Benjamin Biolay’s impressive work as an independent singer-songwriter continues on his supposed magnum opus “La Superbe”, released on October 19, 2009. This isn’t quite a classic as either “Negatif” or “Rose Kennedy”, in my opinion, but its still quite an achievement, especially since his last two albums “Trash Yeye” and “A La O’rigine” weren’t quite up to par.

I maintain that Biolay’s best work came on “Negatif”, a double CD from a few years ago that contains his best work thus far. What he excelled at – spoken word singing, lounge atmospheres, and interesting song samples (including Marilyn Monroe, if some of you will remember) has been changed around a little bit here in favor of more variety – in the sense that there are elements of jazz, funk, reggae, electronica, and ballroom present in spades on this recording. This isn’t essentially a bad thing, but I did find the production to be a couple notches less than on “Rose Kennedy”, which is unacceptable coming so long into his career.

Guest stars, including the irrepressible Jeanne Cherhal (on loan from Tot ou Tard), and even Valerie Donzelli, make this an affair to remember. Biolay also sounds much like Vincent Delerm on this recording, in the aspect of nostalgia and rememberance (which remains Delerm’s forte as witnessed on his latest “Quinze Chansons”).

But its all a bit much to take in. On “Negatif” (another sprawling double disc that remains one of the best French albums in existence, literally), the album flowed effortlessly with every song working as a seamless transition into the other. However, on “La Superbe”, the fact that every song sounds so markedly different in terms of genre and substance, makes for a very disjointed listening experience, where everything seems far less coherent (yet compelling nonetheless). When Biolay slows things down for a throwback to what he used to do best, such as on “Tu es mon amour”, we realize just what he is capable of. But the standout remains the swirling, heady “15 Aout”, which has a great string section that should be heard to be believed.

Benjamin Biolay isn’t quite big yet even in his native France, and this is because he is often considered a poor mans’ Serge Gainsbourg. Granted, his deep vocal delivery, smoke-tinged spoken word attempts at singing, and morose lyricism are all very Gainsbourg, but at least Biolay is more musically experimental than Serge ever was – at least his producers offer him more variety to sample and use in his recordings. Which is a good thing. But “La Superbe” will not appeal to anyone who does not know anything beyond the typical French radio staples, as it belongs to an underground, undefinable genre that will forever remain at least mostly obscure.

Four Stars.
J'aime assez cette fermeté, cette préférence assumée pour "Négatif", plus homogène... Et puis, il y a aussi ce son de cloche plutôt agréable à entendre : "Biolay est plus expérimental musicalement que Serge [Gainsbourg] l'a jamais été."
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MessageSujet: Re: Benjamin Biolay in the U.S.A. Mer 10 Mar 2010 - 19:18

French Victoires Ceremony Boosts Artist Sales
March 10, 2010 - Global | Rock and Pop

By Andre Paine, London

The 25th French Victoires de la Musique awards ceremony increased its TV audience, attracting an average of 3.2 million viewers compared with 3 million last year.

Three artists won two awards at the ceremony including Benjamin Biolay, who joined independent label Naïve in 2009 after four albums released by EMI. Often compared to Serge Gainsbourg, Biolay was awarded for best male artist and best album with "La Superbe," a 23-track set that he financed himself.

"We give him total freedom, including his choice of releasing a double album," commented Naïve CEO Patrick Zelnik.

Biolay's victory had an immediate impact on the album's sales, according to Naïve international development director Thomas Lorain. In France, the album jumped to No. 1 in iTunes chart the day after the ceremony - he was outside the top 20 before - and also topped Amazon.fr's physical sales.

Lorain says 20,000 additional CDs were shipped in France, added to more than 100,000 copies already shipped since the October 2009 release.

"La Superbe" also entered iTunes top 10 in Belgium and top 20 in Switzerland after the ceremony. Lorain says a tour and a physical distribution are being considered in the U.S.

Universal got the lion's share of the Victoires with eight awards (against nine in 2009), including Olivia Ruiz winning for best female artist, an award she won in 2007, and for best video for "Elle Panique" (Polydor).

Newcomer Izia, the daughter of French chanson icon Jacques Higelin, won for best live breakthrough and for best rock album with "Izia" (AZ/Universal) released June 2009. The album jumped to No. 3 in iTunes France's chart after the ceremony.

"This proves that our policy not to cut in artist development is right," Universal France CEO Pascal Nègre tells Billboard.biz.

Independent labels won four awards, against three in 2009 and two in 2008.

"It is no more shameful to be signed on an indie and some of them have reached a significant size," commented Victoires President and CEO of independent label Discograph Olivier Lacourt, naming Wagram, Naïve or Because as examples.

Other awards at the March 6 ceremony went to Oxmo Puccino for urban album for "L'arme de Paix" (Cinq7/Wagram Music); Salif Keita for world music album for "La Difference" (Universal); Coeur de pirate for original song for "Comme des Enfants" (Barclay/Universal); Johnny Hallyday for "Tour 66" for best tour (booker is Jean-Claude Camus Productions); Birdy Nam Nam for best electronic artist (Jive Epic/Sony Music); Pony Pony Run Run for best breakthrough act (3eme Bureau/Wagram Music); and Yodelice for best breakthrough album "Tree of life" (Mercury/Universal).

Alain Bashung, who died in 2009, won his 12th Victoire for best music DVD, "Alain Bashung à L'Olympia" (Barclay/Universal).

The Victoires winners were decided by a 1,200-strong industry academy, except the best breakthrough artist category which was decided by public votes.

Stevie Wonder, who performed an 11-minute medley of his hits, and French veteran Charles Aznavour were also feted in recognition of their outstanding careers.

The ceremony, which focuses on live performances by the nominees, was broadcasted live on national TV channel France 2 and on national radio France Inter

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3id98ddd2a7feb2ad8f0cbd1e788543b69

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Benjamin Biolay in the U.S.A.

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