Music review: Phoenix’s “Entertainment

Put on your dancing shoes, pals. Phoenix has a new single, and they’re actually earning some attention in America. (Finally!)


You know who’s awesome? Phoenix — and not just because they’re from the illustrious city of Versailles, France. (That’s pronounced “vare-sigh,” by the way.)

True story: Once upon a time, there were four incredibly French and rather good-looking men who decided to get together and play music. While Europe practically exploded with love for the crooning, twitching garçons, they went almost entirely unnoticed in America — as all the best bands do at first.

C’est la vie

They managed to pay their bills just fine without us, of course. One of their first singles, “Too Young,” was even featured in the 2003 Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray film Lost in Translation. The film was directed by Sofia Coppola, who would later marry one of Phoenix’s band members. Later, when Phoenix released their second album, Alphabetical, a special mix of their song “Victim of the Crime” was made for a Dior Homme runway show. You might say it was an Haute Couture mix.

Thomas Mars

Oo la la!

The three chanteurs didn’t get their first major American break until 2009, when their song “1901” was featured not only in a commercial for the Cadillac SRX but also in a montage for the Green Bay Packers during that year’s Super Bowl. “1901” was from their most recent album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The commercial and their appearance on SNL would be the factors that sent music fans flocking to local music stores to pick up the album.

Et maintenant?

After a few years spent living life (as you know, the French rush for no one) and hanging out in the recording studio, they finally announced that they were ready to grace us with yet another album. Enter Bankrupt!, which is slated for release on April 23. It’s being hailed as something slightly more experimental. Daniel Glass, the owner of the band’s American record label, Glassnote, told Billboard that the album would be “revolutionary.”

If they were going for “experimental,” it’s not to be found in the album’s first single, though. “Entertainment” is as dance pop as it gets. Singer Thomas Mars’ voice continues in the bubbly, uneven vocal lines he refined in Wolfgang. The music, meanwhile, is this ebb and flow of low, muted bass. When the drums are there, they’re loud and engaging. They seem designed to put you in a dancing trance, which is exactly what they do. You only notice their occasional ease-off if you’re looking for it. Otherwise, you’re too lost in the keyboards and Mars’ vocals to make any sense of what you’ve witnessed until the song is over and you’re trying to find the repeat button. It’s as delicious as the pineapple on the cover of the upcoming Bankrupt!.

In other words, c’est si bon! Listen for yourself…

Glossary: Dance, mes amis! = Dance, my friends!; Garçons = boys; C’est la vie! = That’s life!; Et maintenant? = And now?; C’est si bon! = It’s so good!

Images courtesy of WENN

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