As the number of prominent LGBTQ pop figures multiply, what might have seemed like an uncontroversial hypothesis has been proven bountifully: There is not one “queer sound,” nor even one “queer approach.” Certain radical dreamers might hope that singers who challenge social norms also challenge aesthetic ones, and you can indeed hear such rebellions in the cacophonous sugar highs of the electronic producer Sophie, the friendly funk admixtures of Janelle Monáe, and the smoldering genre crater that is Frank Ocean. But the march of acceptance also allows for performers with unconventional identities to thrive with conventional sounds, as heard for example in the soft exertions of Troye Sivan or the factory-made bounce of Kim Petras.
France’s Héloïse Letissier, who records as Christine and the Queens, presents herself as radical: She speaks in interviews not only about deconstructing gender, but also about being a misfit in music. On stage, she sometimes picks up a bouquet and announces that the flowers are Beyoncé and Rihanna while she’s just the greenery. “I’m pop music’s weird cousin,” she said to NPR, explaining the bit. Her band name arose from an affiliation with a troupe of London drag queens, and her new album, Chris, sees her unveiling a brazen butch persona. “I am done with belonging,” she sings on the opening song.
Yet Letissier’s music, pristinely hummable renderings of familiar synth pop sounds, belongs just fine. The broad likability of her 2014 debut album earned her bestselling celebrity status in Europe, and she’s also been steadily building an audience in the United States. On Chris, the bustling grooves and yelpy choruses recall not only primal touchstones like Madonna, Depeche Mode, and Janet and Michael Jackson, but also latter-day updaters of those artists: Haim, La Roux, Carly Rae Jepsen. Anyone interested in …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Culture