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S16

Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2020 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 9, 2020 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2020 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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S16

Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2020 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Though nearly a decade separates Woodkid's The Golden Age and S16, it's almost impossible to tell at first. Arriving seven years after his 2013 debut album, Yoann Lemoine's second full-length is very much of a piece with his previous work; his songs still have so much musical and emotional richness that they feel like miniature symphonies. S16's opening track, "Goliath," is pure Woodkid: its bone-rattling beats and heroic strings evoke the giant's menace and David's bravery as well as Lemoine's own epic battle between toughness and vulnerability. He explored similar territory on The Golden Age's tale of a boy who turns himself into marble, and while S16 is less overtly conceptual than that album, it often feels more cohesive as Woodkid examines the crisis points of his relationships with others and himself. On "Drawn to You," the first hints of attraction are just as wrenching as a breakup; on "Highway 27," Lemoine sets the sinking realization that love is gone to stark, choppy percussion that makes for some of the album's most audacious sound design. "Reactor" is just as impressive, combining a children's choir, piano, and strings in a theatrical sweep that echoes Woodkid's score for the dance piece Les Bosquets. His songwriting on S16 is equally compelling in its clear-eyed insights into the spiritual and sensual dimensions of yearning and loss. Lemoine captures the ache of being loved by someone without being fully understood by them in the elegantly simple lyrics from "In Your Likeness": "I know I'm not made in your likeness/You're not made for my darkness." On "Pale Yellow," he sings, "My love for you will be gone/I will fix the pain on my own" like a wish instead of a certainty, and if his vocals are slightly more controlled here than they were in the Golden Age days, that only makes them more empathetic. Just when it feels like the album might be too dour, Lemoine turns up the heat with "So Handsome Hello," a seductive, commanding standout that delivers a seismic shift in mood. Moments like these make S16 worth the long wait for fans, and show that the scope and humanity of Woodkid's music has only grown with time. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 30, 2020 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Woodkid in the magazine
  • What has the world come to
    What has the world come to Fans of Woodkid have awaited a new album for seven years, but the man is in no rush.
  • Video interview with Woodkid
    Video interview with Woodkid We met with Philip Glass fan Woodkid, who recently crossed paths with his idol at the Festival Nouveau Siècle de Saint-Étienne. The French musician and videographer discussed the influence of minim...