Thursday, December 25, 2008

Petit Papa Noel

Spending the day at my mom's, listening to all the old albums that we do every year as we open presents and make Christmas dinner, I was suddenly reminded of a French carol that I've always loved, ever since I was a child: Petit Papa Noel, as sung by the West German 70's supergroup Boney M (who are best known here in North America for their singles Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon).

I've spent much of my holiday completely preoccupied with it, thinking about how awesome it would be if Alizée recorded a version of her own...which then quickly spun off into my imagining what other cuts might appear on a hypothetical Christmas album. Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes? Check. Mon Beau Sapin? Check. Alizée covering Madonna's cover of Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby? Oh, yes please.

Is it too early to tell Santa what I want for next Christmas? And does anybody have an email for someone at Jive/Epic? Because I think I may be onto something here...

OK, just so you don't go away thinking this post was completely bereft of any actual Alizée content, here's an awesome Christmas video by Matrix5060. Watch it quick, though, because who knows how long it'll be up before he takes it down forever?

I hope you all had a wonderful day with your families, and that everybody got what they wanted this year and more, regardless of what holiday you happened to be celebrating. Best wishes to you all in the year to come.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Twas the Drop Before Christmas...

Should anybody be concerned that I’ve completely given up on Op Drop in the midst of all this navel-gazing about how well the blog is (or isn’t) working, never fear: I’ve just spent most of the afternoon and evening turning the Toronto Eaton Centre into a virtual minefield of Alizée DVDs. (But y'know, the good kind...where accidentally encountering one leads one to the delightful discovery of a beautiful and talented chanteuse, and not to one being blown to smithereens.)

Though the wall-to-wall crowds of holiday shoppers made it difficult to carry off in the stealthy manner to which I’ve become accustomed, the response seemed quite promising. None of the discs I dropped today appeared to stick around for very long, with several of them actually being picked up within seconds of my having dropped them. It’s nice to think I may have just given several dozen strangers the gift of a new favorite song artist this Christmas!

(Incidentally, if you happen to be one of those several dozen strangers, and you’re dropping by to see what this whole Op Drop thing is all about, welcome! Please feel free to have a look around, check out some links to learn more about Op Drop and Alizée. And don’t forget to say hi in the comments or the ShoutBox!)

I have another smallish drop planned for Wednesday, in which I plan to scatter discs behind me like a trail of breadcrumbs (albeit sexy French ones), as I make my way back to my mom’s place for Christmas Eve. And then potentially another on New Year’s Eve a week later, depending on where I wind up this year.

And then it’ll be time for Op Drop to settle down for a long winter’s nap—or a least a short one—as I finally set aside some downtime to retool the blog into whatever it’s going to become, incorporate some improvements into the disque itself (which I’ve put off for months now), and possibly embark on another Alizée-related project that I’ve been considering for awhile.

So no worries, folks. The end of Op Drop isn’t on the horizon just yet. If anything, it’s just getting started. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dear Texans...

Yet another oddly appropriate image created by Ruroshen from the Alizée
forums. I fear I am going to have to start paying him royalties, soon.

In my continuing quest to understand just what the heck is going on with the Op Drop blog, and how I can best take advantage of it with an eye towards promoting Alizée, I took a quick look tonight at what Google Analytics had to say about the blog's traffic since last Saturday.

Of the visitors I've had since then, nearly a full third of you are coming from Texas. Visitors from the Lone Star state outnumber visitors from all of Europe by nearly four to one. And while it still boggles my mind that I actually get visitors from Europe, I still find this awfully curious. Is there a secret underground Alizée fan movement happening in Texas that I should be aware of? Because if you guys need some support in running an Op Drop or two down there, I am so here for you!

Seriously though...if one of you kind Texan folks could write me and clue me in, I'd be awfully obliged. Because it's a Scooby-Doo mystery to me right now as to what's bringing you all here.

Californians, I'm looking at you, too.

On a somewhat related note, want to hear my favorite Google search string through which someone has stumbled onto Op Drop so far?

"Does Alizée have any sisters?"

Whoever it was spent quite a bit of time on the blog, too. Hilarious. I hope they found what they were looking for!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Op Drop: A New Hope

This is a very dry post. Here is a cool picture of Alizée to help get you
through it. (Courtesy of Ruroshen from the Alizée America forums.)

It’s been almost a month since I last posted here, and I should probably explain why. While it’s partially due to real life just getting in the way—November and December are just about the busiest time of year in my line of work—it’s mainly because I wanted to test a theory I had.

The theory is that Operation: Disque Drop isn’t working…or at least, isn’t working as intended. And it’s pretty well been proven correct.

See, thanks to Google Analytics, I’ve been tracking the blog’s visitor stats for a little less than two months. In that time, I’ve done two major Op Drops—the one I split between York University and the Toronto Eaton Centre, and another along and around the route of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, my single largest one-day drop to date—as well as a few minor ones here and there, mainly at other malls and holiday events around the city. And while the blog’s traffic is fairly steady, getting anywhere from five to twenty visitors a day, regardless of whether I post or not…the problem is that very precious few of them are actually from Toronto.

In fact, over the past month, of the 246 people who visited, only 12 came from Canada…and of those, not even half are from the Greater Toronto Area. And most of those are showing up during a lull between drops.

So where are the majority of the blog’s visitors coming from? The United States, oddly enough. Most of my views by far are coming from Texas, Florida, Minnesota and California, with a few visitors here and there from Illinois, New York and New Jersey. I also see a decent amount of traffic from Germany, Poland and France (but not from Corsica, sadly), and a bit from Belgium, Spain and Mexico. Even folks from Uganda and Tunisia have stumbled across Op Drop!

Now, while I’ve deliberately chosen to run Op Drops at locations around the city that could be considered tourist attractions, it’s a pretty good bet that not all of these people were vacationing in Toronto last month, found a disc and followed it here. Most of them appear to have either found it via Google, or followed a link from aw’s Alizée blog or the YouTube video I posted back in September. (Almost a full third of you, though, are coming to the site directly from your bookmarks, or typing the URL into the browser, which surprises me.)

All this suggests to me four things:
1) The people that are finding Op Drop disques aren’t visiting the blog.
2) The people that are visiting the blog aren’t doing it because they found a disque.
3) Dropping disques or not appears to have no impact on the number of visitors.
4) …but, oddly, whether I post or not doesn’t appear to have an impact, either.
This is a bit of a Scooby-Doo mystery to me, and to be honest, I’m not sure what to do with it. I am pretty sure that the focus of the blog is going to change somewhat, though…and, in fact, may stop being a blog altogether.

More to come as I think this through. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Welcome, Santa Claus Parade visitors!

Welcome and bienvenue, visitors from the Toronto Santa Claus Parade! Thanks for joining us here at Operation: Disque Drop, a one-man (so far) grassroots fan effort to spread awareness of Alizée and grow her fanbase here in North America. If you or someone you know found a DVD in an inconspicuous place somewhere on or around the parade route, and that disc led you here, thank you for proving that this crazy idea might actually work!

I hope you enjoy your first exposure to the wonder that is Alizée. If you haven’t already, I invite you to explore your disque and open your mind to some new music. I think you might have just found your new favorite artist! Then, in either the Shoutbox to the left or in the comment section of the blog below, let us know how and where in the convention you found it, what you thought of it, and what you're going to do with it next!

If you’d like to learn more about Alizée, and interact with other North American fans on the web, the absolute best places to start are Alizée America, Alizée Forum and Lillytown USA. All three communities are filled with fun and friendly fans who absolutely love welcoming new converts, and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Links to other Alizée sites on the intertubes, including her official MySpace, Facebook and YouTube pages, can be found in the upper left-hand margin of this page.

If you’re curious about Operation: Disque Drop (or ‘Op Drop’ for short) and what it’s all about, you can either check out the archives down at the bottom-left of the page, or start here at the first post and work your way forwards. If you have any questions that I haven’t answered exhaustively in the blog—I know, I know, I tend to run off at the mouth, a lil’—please feel free to again either leave a comment, or shoot me an e-mail at

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you enjoy your stay!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Alizée - Mademoiselle Juliette

Mademoiselle Juliette is the second of fourteen clips that appear on the DVD of Alizée videos and performances I’ve been distributing through Operation: Disque Drop.

Although it comes second on the Op Drop disque, Mademoiselle Juliette actually marks a number of ‘firsts’ in Alizée’s career: it was the premiere single from Alizée’s third studio album Psychédélices, released just over a year ago, and the first her fans had heard of her since she almost completely disappeared from the public eye nearly four years earlier. It was also the first track she released on her new record label, RCA Records. But perhaps most significantly, Mademoiselle Juliette was the first single in Alizée’s career to be released without the guidance of her former mentors Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutannat.

To paraphrase the blurb on Lili’s official website, all Lolitas have to grow up eventually.

Produced and composed by Alizée’s husband Jérémy Chatelain, with lyrics by Jean Fauque, Mademoiselle Juliette casts Alizée as Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare’s drama Romeo & Juliet, portraying her as a girl who’d much rather party and have a good time than concern herself with the ongoing feud between the Montague and Capulet houses of fair Verona. The video shows her being led away, unconcerned, from her fateful balcony rendezvous with Romeo by a mysterious masked woman in black, through a decadent masquerade in a medieval castle…one attended only by beautiful young women. As Lili and the ladies lounge, party and dance the night away, poor Romeo is left cooling his heels on the balcony all by his lonesome, waiting for Juliet to come back…seemingly forever.

Once again, we turn to the fine people of Alizée America for an English translation of the lyrics, as well as a discussion of their meaning.

Despite being quite the departure in style and substance from Alizée’s previous hits, Mademoiselle Juliette was a modest success in France and parts of Europe, debuting in thirteenth place on the French singles download chart, and at number 22 on the France Top 100 Singles chart. In Mexico, it reached 49th in the Mexico Top 100 singles chart, while the video captured the top spot on the MTVLA show Los 10+ Pedidos. It was also featured at number 138 in a countdown of the 150 most important videos of the channel’s first fifteen years.

The reason why Mademoiselle Juliette comes second on the Op Drop disque, despite being the first single off Psychédélices, is simple: though I do enjoy both the song and the video, and Alizée both sounds and looks terrific throughout, I genuinely don’t like it as much as Fifty-Sixty. The latter just has more bounce, an oomph to it that MJ is lacking. Despite being a song about a young girl who’d rather party than get caught up in pointless drama (as opposed to one about a model led to the heights of fame who then slides into obscurity), Juliette simply feels heavy and almost stern next to the outwardly playful and melodic Fifty-Sixty. Apparently, partying in the face of tragedy is serious bidness.

Forgive the armchair quarterbacking, but if it had been up to me, I would have reversed the release order of the two…which I guess I kind of have, at least as far introducing new fans to them via Op Drop is concerned. (Actually, all things being equal, if it had been up to me, I would have released Lilly Town ahead of both of them, as it’s easily the catchiest track on Psychédélices…but that’s neither here nor there.)

One interesting thing to note about Mademoiselle Juliette is the similarity the video bears to a pair of other clips that were released later this year: Don’t Speak French by Girls Aloud, and I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. Don’t just take my word for it, either: check out the post “Trend Setting Alizée” on aw’s Alizée blog, and let him drop some science on you.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Alizée - Fifty-Sixty

Fifty-Sixty is the clip that leads off the DVD of Alizée videos and performances I’ve been distributing through Operation: Disque Drop.

The second single to be released from Alizée’s third studio album Psychédélices, Fifty-Sixty tells the story of a young model under the guidance of Andy Warhol at the height of his influence in the 1960’s, who foolishly believes Andy’s pronouncement that she is the most beautiful model of all. Inspiration for the song has been attributed to the real-life stories of Edie Sedgwick and Nico (who is also referenced by name in the lyrics), both of whom were protégés of Warhol. The music for Fifty-Sixty was composed by Alizée’s husband, Jérémy Chatelain, who also contributed to the lyrics written by Jean Fauque.

You can find a translation of the lyrics as well as an in-depth discussion of the song’s meaning here, courtesy of the good folks on the Alizée America forums.

Fifty-Sixty was the obvious choice to kick off the disque, and not only because it’s Alizée’s most recent video. I also think it’s a fair embodiment of who Alizée is as an artist, and serves as a great appetizer for the banquet to come: catchy, poppy, and breezy on the surface, which belies the depth of the melancholy tale told by the lyrics, of a model brought to the height of fame only to slide into obscurity. The video itself is fun and adorable, heavily influenced by both American pop art and Japanese animé in turn. And she looks absolutely gorgeous throughout—what more could one ask for?

The video featured on the disque is the actually only first of three that were produced as part of Fifty-Sixty’s promotion. Two more were produced for remixes of the single—a slower, more melancholy version by David Rubato, and a techno reimagining by Rolf Honey. You can see the entire trilogy on Wisteria Song’s Psychédéclips website, or on Alizée’s official MySpace page, where you can also find the awesome Nellson remix and acappella versions of the song.

Though Fifty-Sixty hasn’t enjoyed even the moderate success of Mademoiselle Juliette in France, due in large part to a botched release and general lack of promotion, it has charted in Mexico and even achieved the number one spot on MTV Latinoamerica. It also spent much of the spring and summer battling it out with Gregory LeMarchel’s Restons Amis for the top spot on Radio Atlantis’ weekly Hit Parade countdown. The recent rumors of Alizée’s move from RCA Records to Jive/Epic have included hints of renewed promotion for the single under her new management, so perhaps we’ll see a resurgence of interest sometime in the near(ish) future.

Finally, it’s worth noting that several fans have interpreted the lyrics of Fifty-Sixty as a possible metaphor for Alizée’s own rapid rise to stardom at a young age, as well as her relationship with her former mentors, Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat, with whom she parted ways prior to the production of Psychédélices. Though it’s purely fan speculation—which Jean Fauque has apparently gone on record as denying—there’s certainly a number of interesting parallels which could be drawn.