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Charlotte Cardin, the newcomer on the pop scene

Charlotte Cardin
(Photo: Charlotte Cardin Facebook)
Charlotte Cardin

Jean-Claude Elias

The writer is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.

About one million pop songs are produced and released every year by the music industry. And this is just through the major labels. Another million are also released by independent and smaller labels.اضافة اعلان

The bad news is that today, you have to play 1,000 songs to hear a good one. The good news is that, given the huge annual production, that very small proportion of good versus poor still results in a reasonable number of tracks that are excellent and very enjoyable.

Canadian Charlotte Cardin definitely belongs to the “good” category; even the very good. The 27-years singer-songwriter is a new contributor to quality music in the crowded pop scene. Her first studio album, Phoenix, was released last year and went all the way up to reach the number one spot on the Canadian charts. It is currently one of the most played albums Spotify, with tens of millions of streams and downloads for most of the tracks. There are also interesting singles that were recorded outside the scope of the album.

Cardin creates a pleasant, distinctive mix of pop and electro, with just a touch of jazz, or rather of blues. This kind of blend would usually come as instrumental music, without vocals. Cardin’s work, however, bears the unmistakable, essential, flavor of her voice. Taken alone, her voice, the electro sound, and the jazzy-bluesy touch, may not be exceptional, but the way they all come together is.

Anyone Who Loves Me, Meaningless, Dirty Dirty, Main Girl, XOXO, Memento Interlude (interpreted in duet with rapper Dinos who hails from Cameroon) are among the most attractive songs by this young artist. The voice is balanced, easily hits the high notes, remains powerful, and is never aggressive. There are accents of Amy Winehouse and of Nelly Furtado here and there. Of Winehouse, Cardin has the bluesy expression, and of Furtado (her fellow Canadian) the way she pronounces the words.

Another singer that Cardin reminds me of is Jain, the French sensation who had a major hit in 2015 with the song titled Come. There are some similarities between the two singers, including the rhythmical patterns and the trendy way they cut and repeat the syllables of the lyrics. Both artists use electro programming tools to generate their music, more particularly the beat and the percussion parts.

Though she sings mainly in English, she sometime does it in French. Faufile and Je Quitte are two such numbers. They reveal a singer who has genuine spirit, inspired feeling, and gentle sensitivity, and who, at the same time, is able to do a perfect delivery of the music in both languages — she is Canadian after all!

Faufile is a slow, deeply moving number, interpreted with a lot of soul, that conveys a sense of musical maturity, despite the relatively young age of the musician. The dominant piano part is superbly played.

Whether in bluesy, slow songs, like Sad Girl, that put you in a nostalgic mood from the onset, or in others that irresistibly make you want to get up and dance, like California, for example, Cardin does it right each time, creating the ideal sonic atmosphere, with the relevant accents. The tracks of California, both instrumental and vocal, are arranged with an equal amount of new and more traditional sounds.

My favorite piece on the Phoenix album is XOXO. In addition to being a superb song, it features a voice that sounds like a man singing in duet with Cardin. It is actually her own voice, with the pitch electronically lowered down a little to make it resemble that of a male vocalist, and that she smartly uses to give the impression that someone else is singing with her.
They reveal a singer who has genuine spirit, inspired feeling, and gentle sensitivity, and who, at the same time, is able to do a perfect delivery of the music in both languages.
Often, the current pop production consists of either talented vocalists singing less-than-average, boring, songs or of songs that are good but are interpreted by mediocre singers. Cardin does nothing like that, she writes finely crafted songs, served with her excellent singing skills.

Whereas some of the songs of the Canadian musician appeal to a wide range of listeners from all ages and walks of life, her general style is focused on the under-40 group.

Like with virtually any album released today, the quality from track to track is uneven. With Phoenix, seven of the 13 songs deserve kudos, an achievement considered to be well above average.

It remains to be seen whether Cardin is the next mega pop star and is here to stay. Her music comes with a substantial amount of artistic originality, but perhaps not as much as what, for instance, Billie Eilish has already brought us. In the meantime, Cardin delivers new songs that are pleasant to listen to, sung with an attractive voice.


Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.


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