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.

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