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Christine and the Queens

New Music Friday: 9 albums to stream this week

Christine and the Queens shares his latest album as Redcar, Headie One releases a collaborative mixtape, and Hyd unveils their long-awaited debut

Named after the red vehicles that began to take on significance for him in the wake of his mother’s sudden death in 2019, Redcar les Adorables Étoiles (translation: “Redcar the Adorable Stars”) is Christine and the Queens’ Héloïse Letissier’s third album, and the first since he came out as trans earlier this year. It revolves around the musician’s suave new persona Redcar, who can be seen on social media sporting various alter-egos, ranging from a businessman to a whip-wielding dominatrix, a sailor with a limp, and a mime. 

Written and recorded in just under two weeks, the album is intended as the first part of an opera inspired by Tony Kusher’s play Angels in America about the 1980s AIDS crisis (the second Redcar album is due for release next year). It comes accompanied by a series of exquisitely choreographed theatrical performance art exhibitions across London and Paris. Sonically, it lacks the instant pop appeal of past projects – there are no straight-up pop bangers like “Tilted” or “Girlfriend”. But the album still holds the standard hallmarks of a Queens album. Across 13 tracks, Letissier pines for love, sex and acceptance against dramatic soundscapes that feature sparse pop arrangements and vampy new-wave riffs.

Singing mostly in his native French, Redcar harnesses his inner Orlando as he transitions into his male form on “Ma Bien Aimée Bye Bye” and prays to his late mother in heaven on “Les Étoiles”; he ponders the complexities of love on “Rien Dire” and looks inwards on “Je Te Vois Enfin” and “Angelus”. Some critics have found Letissier’s latest album to be a little too wandering, even aimless. Chris’ latest persona still feels unclear, the lack of cohesive visuals leaves the listener still unsure of who exactly Redcar is. But Letissier has always been one to resist binaries and Redcar les Adorables Étoiles sees him stepping into a bold new terrain.

Elsewhere, Headie One releases a collaborative mixtape No Borders, featuring artists from across Europe, PC Music‘s Hyd (AKA QT) shares their debut album with contributions from A. G. Cook and Caroline Polachek, and Wizkid solidifies his reputation as afrobeats’ biggest star on his fifth album.

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS, REDCAR LES ADORABLES ÉTOILES

JIMMY EDGAR, LIQUIDS HEAVEN

HEADIE ONE, NO BORDERS

HYD, CLEARING

LOUS AND THE YAZUKA, IOTA

IMOGEN HEAP, CHORDATA BYTES I

SAFETY TRACE, LAGRIMAS

WIZKID, MORE LOVE, LESS EGO

106 MIDO, PYEONGCHANG