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.