Dead Beats and a Sad Tomato

On the cover of her brand new album 101, Keren Ann tries to sell us a tough babe royale with cheese, Honey Bunny style, but actually, the box contains just dead beats and a sad tomato. Nine years ago, the forlorn princess of her nouvelle chanson debut La Disparition told an exceptionally seductive story of longing and melancholia – high in the ranks of FS’s best-of-the-decade albums, and rightly so –, and maybe it was nowhere to go but down from there. While 07’s Lay Your Head Down already was a huge disappointment, 101, also English lyrics only, finally comes as a lesson in artistic rigour and negative energy, oscillating indecisively between neo folk and a pale silhouette of 90s dream pop: half of the tracks – sounding like a portable pulled out of a swamp – are oppressively boring Hope Sandoval copies, the uptempo songs indie pop bubblegum of the shallowest kind, while the title tune offers a bromidic 5:30 min loop that only serves to induce chronic fatigue syndrome, but fast. The limp vegetable is Keren Ann herself. Confusing intimacy with ennui, the royalty of yore has a new title: tristesse drama queen of the year.

Keren Ann – She Won’t Trade It for Nothing