French singer/songwriter/producer Héloïse Letissier, known by the stage name Christine and the Queens, has released a new single titled ‘5 dollars’. The track is the third to be released from her upcoming sophomore album ‘Chris’, the long-awaited follow up to ‘Chaleur humaine’, her acclaimed 2014 debut which saw a 2015 English language re-release.
The previous two singles to be released from ‘Chris’ both pulled heavily from a different subsection of 80’s-style synth-pop, and ‘5 dollars’ is no different. There’s a strong new wave influence on the track, with pulsating staccato piano chords in the chorus and splashes of reverb-heavy percussion throughout. It’s an incredibly well-made instrumental, with the subdued verses and uplifting choruses providing some contrast over an unchanging beat, but it’s somewhat lacking in progression, especially in the elongated final chorus.
That extra dash of vigour that feels lacking in the track’s production is made up for by Letissier’s incredible vocal performance. Her voice has a soothing, comforting presence in the verses as she sings of simplistic, liberating expressions of love – “the kind you can buy,” as she has explained. The vocal melody heard in the chorus doesn’t take long to cement itself into your memory, as Letissier’s voice locks in with a solo piano line that assists her in making every note powerful on its own. With gorgeous vocal harmonies to boot, the singer pulls out a stellar performance on this track, as expected.
Despite its flaws, ‘5 dollars’ is an unarguably well-crafted track, being equal parts a catchy pop song and a powerful anthem with an effective message. One should hope that ‘Chris’ – released on September 21st – will contain plenty more breathtaking performances from Letissier, but it’s a pretty safe bet.