Another gem I discovered on my recent trip to Québec:
Combining the Gitane-scented smokiness and intimacy of vielle-école (old school) French chanson with lush, classical Chopin-esque flourishes, singer-songwriter-pianist Pierre Lapointe could be easily categorized as the spiritual heir of Serge Gainsbourg with his well-crafted lyrics and playful sexual innuendo.
The fact that he’s young, gay, talented, plays piano, and comes from Québec also immediately suggests that he is perhaps the francophone answer to Anglo-Quebecker/American gay, piano playing, singer-songwriter, Rufus Wainwright, who has himself dabbled with singing in French. However, Lapointe transcends these comparisions and finds his own particular artistic voice. Well versed in the classical forms French chanson, Lapointe’s songwriting covers all the thematic bases of amour, ennui, jouissance, angst, etc. But his songs include a healthy injection of rock and roll cojones (or as they say en français, les couilles) and experimental edge that prevent them from falling into the trap of retro rehashing.
His third and latest album, la forêt des mal-aimés, was released 20 March 2006.
Check out the official website for song samples, lyrics, and much more. (French only)
Here is another review from the Montreal Mirror (English)
If I sound too much like a lovelorn schoolboy in my unqualified praise of Pierre Lapointe, let me give my full disclosure. As a sometimes piano playing, amateur singer-songwriter myself, I have always have a soft spot in my heart for the great artistes of the piano/singer/songwriter genre: Rufus Wainwright, Elton John, Carol King, Tori Amos, Ben Folds.