Foisy. beautifully ponders life’s big questions — with a twist.
Given, well, all the extra time we have on hand, now is as good a time as any for introspection. Chances are you’ll start coming up to the big existential questions: What is love? How do we know if we have found the right person? Where do we go when we die? These are largely unanswerable, but Foisy. (Marc-André Foisy and many others) ponders them nonetheless. The songs on Mémoires. (punctuation intended)do not seek answers. Foisy instead finds contentment in putting thoughts and feelings out into the world and knowing that others are thinking the same things.
The way Mémoires. was recorded makes it feel as if you’re sitting in on an intimate gathering. Foisy’s vocals are by default soft and mellifluous, and the instrumentation is light: sparse guitar, flourishes of percussion, a smattering of horns. In fact, the first song on the record is as intimate as a song can be: “Mémoires I” keeps all its ambient background noise, which is the backdrop to Foisy harmonizing with Adèle Trottier Rivard and Antoine Corriveau and a gorgeous piano melody.
Light atmospherics leave room for Foisy’s thoughtful lyrics to shine. In “Les Anniversaires,” he wonders why we highlight a single day a year. In other words, why must that be the only day where people unconditionally love you? “Je suis les alentours” has a stunningly heartbreaking description of romantic interaction that translates roughly to “Whose fault is it if our two bodies love each other a little?” Foisy also considers the approach of death quite often. “Bye-Bye” likens readying for death’s embrace as choosing to forget about details and accepting that you’re losing a battle. Foisy hopes in “À la mort” that when the inevitable end of humanity comes, we won’t still be fighting each other. Love and death combine in “Les longues migrations,” describing two people making love to get away from life’s big questions and their own mortality.
Introspection is all well and good, but eventually, you need a release valve; perhaps you need to watch something mindless to get away from those thoughts or just talk with someone about what you’re feeling. What elevates Mémoires. into an unforgettable album is its version of that release valve: the album closer “Mémoires II.” Where previous songs were quiet and even mournful, “Mémoires II” releases all that pent-up tension. The music brightens, and in the background are numerous people screaming with unbridled joy. It’s a perfect wrap-up to an existential journey and an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel.