When I first heard Montreal pianist and singer Beatrice Martin, who performs as Coeur de Pirate, through these English language ears, it was like music that came out of nowhere. I mean, I’m well-versed in French popular music styles, in Gainsbourg and Greco, in ye-ye, all of these which she echoed. But I wasn’t expecting it to come out in such a mature and fully-formed way from a 19-year-old perform. And yet there it was. She took all these styles, filtered them through her own assurance and talent, and alternately honored them and made them entirely her own, all in French. It was one of the best debuts I have ever heard.
Martn’s new album, Roses (Amazon), continues to track her move into more modern pop sounds while still retaining the core of her sound and influences. More importantly, it is bilingual. This prospect scared me at first, but her raspy-lilt is just as magnetic in English as it is in French. While we English-speakers are burdened by our young pop star women who seem to be on a constant path of bickering, of doing anything to seize attention, and of claiming feminist chops even though their images and music are largely engineered by men, Martin stands above many as not only walking the walking, but refusing to point that out to you. She just makes music and as Roses shows, her savvy and assuredness continues to grow, and if you have been paying attention, you have been rewarded by watching a major artist carefully living up to her potential.
Here is some earlier work to get you up to speed: