Club Contact

The new MP3 blog from London's club Contact. The idea is to allow people to hear new music they wouldn't have otherwise found but, if anyone has any copyright issues with a particular song, i'll take the link down. Songs are only available for a limited amount of time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My friend, and occasional Contact superstar DJ, Luca was kind enough to give me a DVD of music videos by Lio - described as the French music scene's carefree counterpoint to Mylene Farmer's dark pop - a few weeks ago. I can't understand how i didn't come across her sooner. She was enormous in the 1980s, did the spoken-word part of Etienne Daho's seminal Weekend A Rome, worked with Sparks and is the big sister of Helena Noguerra of Katerine & Helena fame. Although i'd heard the name and had unwittingly heard her sing on the Olivier Libaux concept album L'Heroine Au Bain, i'd never taken the time to find out anything more about her.

To say i was missing out is something of an understatement - she's absolutely amazing. The first few albums, in particular, are truly magnificent pop classics reminiscent of her celebrated Ze Records labelmate Cristina Monet.

Like many of the best Francophone pop icons (Mylene, Etienne, Dalida, Sylvie Vartan, etc), she wasn't actually born in France. Wanda Ribeiro de Vasconcelos emigrated from her native Portugal to Belgium at the age of six (which explains why Helena was sticking up for the Portuguese in the brilliant song Euro 2004). Her ridiculously catchy debut single, Le Banana Split, became something of a novelty hit across Europe, selling two million copies and making her a superstar overnight.

Lio - Le Banana Split

Her Premier Album was packed with equally bright, synthy bubblegum pop, about half of which was resurrected in English for her later Suite Sixtine. Unlike Alizee, her attempts to transfer to pop's most universal language worked exceptionally well - with characteristically sharp lyrics from Ron and Russell Mael. The standout song was in French though - the glittering disco of Sage Comme Une Image.

Lio - Sage Comme Une Image

Many feel that her finest hour was the Pop Model album containing the thrilling Fallait Pas Commencer though.

Lio - Fallait Pas Commencer

There's some truth in what Luca said about her getting progressively worse after that point but, taken as a whole, she deserves to be remembered as one of the finest pop icons of the decade.

Buy Lio Stuff


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