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Benjamin Biolay|Palermo Hollywood

Palermo Hollywood

Benjamin Biolay

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There is no question that Benjamin Biolay is heir to Serge Gainsbourg's nouvelle chanson throne. Five of his previous six albums have re-created it in his own image, using everything from canny angular pop, punk, and skittering Euro funk to electro, Saravah soul, cafe jazz, and ye-ye while remaining devoted to the sophisticated gospel of Gainsbourg. Palermo Hollywood is a trademark Biolay album, chock-full of his irony, wicked wit, offbeat sensuality, and irresistible, catchy melodies and arrangements. But it is also something other. Most of it was cut in the Buenos Aires district the album was titled after, a haunt for many ex-pat Europeans amid glorious old world architecture and subterranean street life. Biolay has a small apartment there. Using Argentine musicians as well as his usual stable in France, he delivers many of these songs with a new array of rhythms that include cumbia and tango. He co-wrote several songs with Uruguayan/Argentinian actress/vocalist Sofia Wilhelmi. She duets on the single "Palermo Queens" and on the accordion-fueled cumbia-cum-tarantella-cum-rock tune "Palermo Soho." On the former, his protagonist is a romantically rejected flaneur who drinks and smokes too much in an effort to hide his heartbreak. In the latter, he is drunk too, but he takes in the decadent street scene and celebrates it matter of factly. Passion and pleasure may seem journalistic here, but they are overflowing; an excess of desire is all in the lyric puns. "La Noche Ya No Existe" is an electro-dancehall cumbia with mariachi horns performed in duet with Alika, the Uruguayan reggae star. It juxtaposes romance under a big sky in a world destroyed by multinational corporations. "Tendresse Année Zéro" is a gorgeous spoken word poem about loving and losing, with drum loops, strings, hand percussion, and analog synths creating a sonic panorama for pre-dawn romantic anguish. The brief "Borges Futbol Club" is a hazy, jazz waltz with lush strings, whistling, and a killer bassline, offset by the sampled sound of a soccer announcer raving about a goal. "Pas Sommeil" is a long, groovy, modern chanson that serves as an anthem for Biolay's eternal ne'er do well who calmly -- and unrepentantly -- narrates his many losses in life. The music fuses luxuriant cinematic strings to a spaghetti western melodic theme infused with a Bach organ fugue and squalling electric rock guitars and drums. Already heady with tones and textures, Jorge Luis Borges is sampled reading one of his poems. "Pas Di'ci" combines new wave and stadium rock tropes in a grand chanson frame. Palermo Hollywood is an expansion of Biolay's musical palette. Like Gainsbourg, he relentlessly explores new sounds in which to frame his lyrics and melodies. His consummate skill in assembling the familiar with the exotic goes beyond anything he's done before. He poetically renders his non-committal, willing societal rejects and anti-heros as three-dimensional characters who speak effortlessly, as the listener hums along, often nodding in assent.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Palermo Hollywood

Benjamin Biolay

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1
Palermo Hollywood
00:03:15

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Whistle, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Valerie Gabail, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Martín Ferrés, Bandoneon, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

2
Miss Miss
00:03:21

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Bandoneon, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

3
Borges Futbol Club
00:02:00

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Whistle, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Valerie Gabail, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

4
Palermo Queens
00:03:42

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Keyboards, Interprète Vocal, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eric Elmosnino, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Martín Ferrés, Bandoneon, AssociatedPerformer - Verdun, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Sofia Wilhelmi, Author, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

5
La débandade
00:03:52

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Trumpet, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Martín Ferrés, Bandoneon, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

6
Ressources humaines
00:04:10

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Brass Band, Interprète Vocal, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Chiara Mastroianni, Author, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Melvil Poupaud, Author, Electric Bass, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Marcelo "Polaco" Wengrovski, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Sofia Wilhelmi, Author - Orchestre Buenos Aires, Orchestra

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

7
Tendresse année zéro
00:04:44

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, String Arranger, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Clavichord, Electric Bass, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - David Braccini, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Anne Gravoin, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emmanuel Blanc, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Cyrille Lacrouts, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Marianne Lagarde, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Elsa Benabdallah, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Vincent Debruyne, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Martín Ferrés, Bandoneon, AssociatedPerformer - Catherine Robert, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

8
Palermo Spleen
00:03:05

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Trumpet, Whistle, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Bisiau, Author - Duilio Smiriglia, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

9
La Noche Ya No Existe
00:03:15

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Brass Band, Interprète Vocal, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Anna Friedberg, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alika, Author, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

10
Palermo Soho
00:03:28

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Keyboards, Brass Band, Sound Effects, Interprète Vocal, Programming, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Sofia Wilhelmi, Author, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

11
Pas sommeil
00:06:28

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, String Arranger, Electric Guitar, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Hammond B3, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - David Braccini, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Anne Gravoin, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Emmanuel Blanc, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Cyrille Lacrouts, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Marianne Lagarde, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Clément "Animalsons" Dumoulin, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Elsa Benabdallah, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Vincent Debruyne, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Melvil Poupaud, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Catherine Robert, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Marcelo "Polaco" Wengrovski, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

12
Pas d’ici
00:03:47

Fernando Samalea, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Keyboards, Sound Effects, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

13
Yokoonomatopea
00:02:19

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Sound Effects, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Elizabeth Ridolfi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Valerie Gabail, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - María Eugenia Castro, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Pablo Navarro, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Falconi, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Martín Ferrés, Bandoneon, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Salzman, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Serdar Geldymuradov, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Gustavo Mulé, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Tejedor, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Hopenhayn, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillermo Rubino, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Pomeraniec, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Julio Dominguez, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Pablo Farhat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Natalia Cabello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Lucía Herrera, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jorge Caldelari, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Fernando Herman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

14
Ballade française
00:03:47

Benjamin Biolay, Producer, String Arranger, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Piano, Interprète Vocal, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Julien Delfaud, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dominique Blanc-Francard, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Emmanuel André, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Frédéric Kret, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Karen Khochafian, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Denis Benarrosh, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Christophe Briquet, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Karen Brunon, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Bénédicte Schmitt, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nicolas Fiszman, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Doriane Gable, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Yue Zhang, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Almosnino, Baritone Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Valerie Gabail, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Béatrice Muthelet, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Gopher, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cyrille Lacrouts, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Jean-Philippe Martignoni, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Jean-Claude Tcheurekdjian, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Vanessa Jean, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Michel Nguyen, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Guillaume Dujardin, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Arnaud Vallin, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Julien Gaben, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Nicolas Guiraud, Musical Director - Mathieu Lefèvre, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Damián Verdún, Charango Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vicki Vergolini, Percussion, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Jacques Saint-Yves, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Mirana Tutuianu, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Philippe Mazeau, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Hélène Roblin, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Marianne Echassoux-Lagarde, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Mathieu Petit, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Polydor (France)

Album Description

There is no question that Benjamin Biolay is heir to Serge Gainsbourg's nouvelle chanson throne. Five of his previous six albums have re-created it in his own image, using everything from canny angular pop, punk, and skittering Euro funk to electro, Saravah soul, cafe jazz, and ye-ye while remaining devoted to the sophisticated gospel of Gainsbourg. Palermo Hollywood is a trademark Biolay album, chock-full of his irony, wicked wit, offbeat sensuality, and irresistible, catchy melodies and arrangements. But it is also something other. Most of it was cut in the Buenos Aires district the album was titled after, a haunt for many ex-pat Europeans amid glorious old world architecture and subterranean street life. Biolay has a small apartment there. Using Argentine musicians as well as his usual stable in France, he delivers many of these songs with a new array of rhythms that include cumbia and tango. He co-wrote several songs with Uruguayan/Argentinian actress/vocalist Sofia Wilhelmi. She duets on the single "Palermo Queens" and on the accordion-fueled cumbia-cum-tarantella-cum-rock tune "Palermo Soho." On the former, his protagonist is a romantically rejected flaneur who drinks and smokes too much in an effort to hide his heartbreak. In the latter, he is drunk too, but he takes in the decadent street scene and celebrates it matter of factly. Passion and pleasure may seem journalistic here, but they are overflowing; an excess of desire is all in the lyric puns. "La Noche Ya No Existe" is an electro-dancehall cumbia with mariachi horns performed in duet with Alika, the Uruguayan reggae star. It juxtaposes romance under a big sky in a world destroyed by multinational corporations. "Tendresse Année Zéro" is a gorgeous spoken word poem about loving and losing, with drum loops, strings, hand percussion, and analog synths creating a sonic panorama for pre-dawn romantic anguish. The brief "Borges Futbol Club" is a hazy, jazz waltz with lush strings, whistling, and a killer bassline, offset by the sampled sound of a soccer announcer raving about a goal. "Pas Sommeil" is a long, groovy, modern chanson that serves as an anthem for Biolay's eternal ne'er do well who calmly -- and unrepentantly -- narrates his many losses in life. The music fuses luxuriant cinematic strings to a spaghetti western melodic theme infused with a Bach organ fugue and squalling electric rock guitars and drums. Already heady with tones and textures, Jorge Luis Borges is sampled reading one of his poems. "Pas Di'ci" combines new wave and stadium rock tropes in a grand chanson frame. Palermo Hollywood is an expansion of Biolay's musical palette. Like Gainsbourg, he relentlessly explores new sounds in which to frame his lyrics and melodies. His consummate skill in assembling the familiar with the exotic goes beyond anything he's done before. He poetically renders his non-committal, willing societal rejects and anti-heros as three-dimensional characters who speak effortlessly, as the listener hums along, often nodding in assent.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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