Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adele & Adele

With a small number of exceptions, most of us attempting to make a name for ourselves in this pineapple upside-down cake of a world also face a problem in that no matter how hard we work, some idiot with a sex tape or a novelty single or a poorly planned assassination plot could easily render us un-Googleable. Even worse: Even if you did actually become something halfway towards a thing in your day, some idiot with your same name could trot along decades later and wipe you from searchable existence. Hell, it could even be your own descendant, named in honor of how great you were. Oh, the irony.

A few years ago, I came across this amazing song by a singer named Adele. I listened to it again and again, because it resonated with me in a deep way that few songs do. Months later, I learned that Adele was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and was therefore thrilled. Not only did this indicate that talented performers could get mainstream recognition, but it also meant that Adele was contemporary when everything about her sound made me think she had recorded back in the 60s. Then she took the stage and sang. In English. This was not my Adele. This was the British Adele, whom everyone knows now and who now gets to be an icon for either womanhood or plus-sized womanhood, depending on who’s talking. I actually don’t have a problem with this. Adele has genuine talent, and I wish all pop music could be as good as hers, so if she usurps the title of “that pop singer who’s just named Adele (no last name),” I’m fine with it and won’t make a cruel joke about there genuinely only being room for one Adele in this world.

However, as a result of Adele’s ubiquity, my Adele — the original, French Adele — is far more difficult to research. ‘’ I know her real name was Christine Allegrini and that the song I like — the song that may actually be her only hit — came out in 1966. Like I said, she sings in French, so I don’t actually know what the song is about other than that the title, “J’ai Peur Parfois,” means “Sometimes I Have Fear.” That’s enough, really. The song moves me, comprehensible or not.

(Please note: She actually kind of looks like Now Adele. Could Now Adele possibly be a polyglot time-traveler? Sure, why not?)

Anyway, I thought I’d do what I can for my Adele. What with Francoise Hardy’s “Le temps de l'amour” getting play in the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom and Megan Draper getting radio play with Gillian Hills’s “Zou Bisou Bisou,” there might be an interest in the ye-ye sound — guitar, French songspeak, timid sexuality, a hot chick. I hope there’s also an interest in my Adele too.

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