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.

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