201407xx Magdalen Portrait 1

According to Wikipedia, the defining characteristic of Chanson is that it focuses on the French language as both vehicle and instrument. In which case it is fair to say that young Strasbourg-based singer-songwriter, Magdalen, is most definitely a Chanteuse.

“En vers et contre tout” is her crowd-funded debut album. It’s an intriguing and multi-faceted work, weaving together as it does electro-pop and electronica, alongside indie, acoustic pop and hip-hop beats.

The album’s title “En vers et contre tout” is a play on the phrase “envers et contre tout” (“against all odds”) – translated into English it becomes “In verse and against all,” which is very apt as this is a challenging, confrontational – and quite adult – an album. Even iTunes here in the States has managed to plaster a ‘Parental Advisory Explicit Content’ sticker on the front.

Magdalen manages to expertly craft rhythms with challenging and forthright lyricism, tackling sexism head-on; “Demi-molle” and “Pas dans ma bouche” need no explanation.

But it’s not all about confrontation; “Faveur d’exception” is simply a beautiful love song. The chorus could quite easily segue in and out of “Ouvre ton cœur!” from Catherine Leduc’s outstanding “Rookie”, while the haunting acoustic number; “Supplique à larmes” explores the futility and all-consuming nature of desire.

En vers et contre tout” is a very personal album and one that has been crafted without compromise… It’s also an album of Chansons in the truest sense. The lyrics – paroles – and Magdalen’s distinctive and transfixing vocals are the focal point throughout this impressive collection of songs.