Christine and the Queens, simply known as Chris, released her new EP, “La Vita Nuova,” on Feb. 27, 2020.
Chris first emerged in the English language with her album, “Christine and the Queens,” which came out in 2015. That same album had come out a year prior in French under the title, “Chaleur Humaine.” While some songs were translated into English, others maintained their fluid balance between English and French.
The new EP is a powerhouse of intimate songs that seamlessly traverse across four different languages: English, French, Italian and a small interjection of the Spanish lyric and song title, “Nada.” The EP is comprised of five songs and a bonus track.
Along with the EP, Chris released a short film to accompany the new work. The visual that shares the same title, “La Vita Nuova,” was directed by Colin Solal Cardo, and this is not the first time he has directed one of Chris’ projects.
In 2017, Cardo directed “Gone,” a fun and powerful pop track collaboration between Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens. Cardo’s visual project roster includes the likes of Robyn, Yseult, Phoenix, Alicia Keys, Metronomy and Mura Masa.
“La Vita Nuova,” which shares the same title as Dante Alighieri’s 1294 prose, begins with, “People, I’ve been sad,” a slow and easy-to-follow track that sets the tone for this new life. This track allows for a beautiful rebirth of Chris and her emotions, embracing her struggles with loss and love; themes that listeners can surely relate to.
In a behind-the-scenes video series, Chris reveals the choreography process for “La Vita Nuova.” She mentions an interaction between her and Ryan Heffington, the choreographer for the film, before creating the movement for, “People, I’ve been sad,” where Heffington poses the question back to her, “But why?”
“I had to tell him about the experiences of loss, the experiences of tormented love and everything,” Chris said.
Ryan Heffington is the same choreographic mastermind behind the movement in Sia’s “Elastic Heart” and “Chandelier.” He has choreographed for Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire and FKA Twigs.
In, “La Vita Nuova,” Heffington eloquently inserted his style into Chris’ movement without understating her vulnerability and her own former dance training.
Much like the EP, the choreography is emotive, expressive and it requires one to embrace oneself fully, regardless of their emotive state. This is especially true in, “Je disparais dans tes bras,” a formidable dance track with an irresistible groove and beat, which appears again as the English bonus track, “I disappear in your arms.”
Nonetheless, the audio and visual are both cathartic experiences.
“Mountains (we met),” is a necessary ballad interlude that gives listeners a chance to catch their breath before indulging in the two remaining tracks: “Nada” and “La Vita Nuova.”
Chris put her feelings of lost love into a track that will make listeners motivated to leave a relationship after trying to rationalize what went wrong. In “Nada,” Chris vents and declaratively sings, “Feelings are lost and mine are overrated / Coming to dust, nothing’s here protected, Feelings of loss, am I overrated? / If we are done / Nada / Never back again / Never ever, ever coming back again.”
Lastly, the track, “La Vita Nuova,” features Caroline Polacheck, an American pop artist, in an Italian and English duet. It is a song about lusting over a heartbreaker. Its intense and hypnotic dance moves and lyrics are reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Bad.”
While Chris is not the only artist in the global pop scene writing, producing, singing and ultimately excelling in a language outside of her native tongue, she has helped to prove that great pop music can also come from outside of the English mainstream.
Christine and the Queens’, “La Vita Nuova,” proves to be an audiovisual project worthy of recognition for its artistry and linguistic feat. The EP captures the attention of listeners interested in hearing great sound and lyrics despite its language of origin. One can only hope that this EP is an enticing teaser as audiences patiently await a full-length album.