At the beginning of St. ClairBenjamin Biolay delivers with “The pink cheeks” one of these love songs of which he has the secret: “If there was only one left / The evenings of sorrow / I would like to die / By kissing your hand. » After this radiant prelude, the tone changes and gravity surfaces throughout the 17 titles writing the story of what its author calls “a sound film shot in my head”. Throughout this melancholy but not sad, deep and futile album, with unstoppable melodies, Biolay delivers his musical autobiography. “The artists who built my musical culture and formed my pantheon, the Smiths of Manchester, the Strokes of New York, made people dance to sad songs. It is this clever mix of happiness and melancholy that I have been looking for »he explains.
Grand Prize, his previous album released in 2020, brought him two Victoires de la musique (male artist and album of the year) and a platinum disc. A triumph difficult to observe during the “great loneliness” confinements. “But when I started playing it on stage, I realized that on certain songs, including ‘How is your pain? » and « Like a stolen car », I could hardly hear myself so much the public sang them. Since then, I enjoy a little more of everything, I savor more. »
The Virgin in Majesty on the cover
During this tour, Biolay develops with his musicians St. Clair, his tenth album. On the sidelines of the concerts, the guitarist Pierre Jaconelli, the keyboardist Johan Dalgaard, the drummer Philippe Entressangle and Biolay on keyboards, mellotron and vocals, play the new titles together, agree, refine the sound. ” St. Clairwe did it as a foursome, the old-fashioned way, which makes me a bit of a singer in a rock band”, he laughs. Author-composer, he derives from his success more freedom, in music as in words.
His rhythms slam in rock mode with the hit “Rends l’amour!” “, or pop with “Beauty where there is none”, “Little cat” and “Barefoot on the sand”. Tasting a sensual but fragile happiness on “Mort de joie” in duet with Nathy Cabrera, he offers himself an acoustic ballad with “Sainte-Rita”, and an orchestral one, “Santa Clara”, interpreted with Clara Luciani. After a stopover in Paris at “Saint-Germain”, he unfolds his melodic panache on “Saint-Clair”, an allusion to the mountain dominating the town of Sète where, as a child, he spent his holidays and where he lives half the year. Four titles honoring saints, the Virgin in majesty on the cover of his disc, religious references in all the songs, a clip which stages an unconventional procession for “Rends l’amour! »… Biolay surprises by drawing his inspiration from Catholicism.
“I have faith pegged to the body”
Around his neck he wears a large silver cross. “Jewelry is as old as rock! An imagery, a spirituality close to paganism »he launches out of bravado before confessing unexpected religious convictions. “I have faith. Since always, quite irrationally, says Benjamin Biolay. In my family, my mother is not a believer, my father likes to go to midnight mass because he is a music lover. My buddies, my lovers, most of them are very anticlerical, but me, I have the faith pegged to the body. She is part of my life. I feel close to the Virgin. » Passionate about the history of the Vatican, he follows what happens there – “It’s very political! – and admire the Pope Francis, whom he met. “Francis, before going to say a blessing, he prays, he is focused, he is energized, that’s what makes him human”assures the artist, himself still prey to stage fright after twenty years of career.
From the intimate to the universal, his record mixes love and the sacred, meditation and enjoyment (“Magic Numbers”), introspection (“Yet”) and politics. “La Traversée” finds him facing the Mediterranean, haunted by the dramas that are played out there: “Tonight the sea will still spit / The blood / Of those who had nothing but life / Ahead / Before. » Seething in its variations on the world, it takes an ironic look at itself, not fooled by its weaknesses. “I complain, I complain, I complain, but deep down I like it…”, he confides in the intense and romantic ballad “(Un) Ravel”. Placing his voice and his truth on this adaptation of the “Pavane for a deceased infante”, Biolay signs there, with a sublime classicism, the summit of Saint Clair.
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“Saint-Clair” by Benjamin Biolay, rocker faith
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