On his self-titled third album, Jonathan Personne explores the unexpected, taking musical turns that will haunt your memories for days to come.
I made a lot of allusions to mystery and apparitions when writing about Jonathan Personne’s sophomore record, Disparitions. And though those reference points still hold up, they feel even more relevant in relation to Jonathan Personne’s (aka Corridor songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Robert) self-titled third album, where he goes all-in on creating a musically spooky world rife with dichotomy, contradictions, and the unexpected.
Jonathan Personne, like its predecessor, is impeccably tight. A succinct eight-sing set in just over a half-hour, Personne hits the ground running with “À présent,” a spirited psychedelic tune that pops out of the speakers. While Disparitions’ opening song, “Personne,” eased listeners in, “À présent” is suddenly there, filling the void with Personne’s signature kaleidoscopic mixture of sound and style. A rush of ominous strings quickens the pulse and casts a portentous air of suspense before Personne’s echoey voice chimes in: “À présent, dans tes yeux / Je vois bein que la ville est en feu” (“Now in your eyes / I can see the city is on fire”). As the song’s 60s-pop-inspired melody crests and crescendos in ever-ascending spirals, its lyrics wallow in a tale of sorrow, despair, and tragedy: “À present deux amant réunis à jamais / Retrouvés un matin, près de flueve en hiver / Brûlés par l’accident, gonflés par la noyade / Renvoyant, malgré tout, un sourire à la mort” (“Now two lovers reunited forever / Found one morning, near a river in winter / Burned by the accident, swollen by drowning / In spite of everything, smiling at death”).
Similar explorations in polarity and perspective abound on Jonathan Personne. Besides the music, its cover art (illustrated by Personne) looks like a primary school reader drawing of two children discovering skeletal human remains. The image suggests that Personne plays with opposites in much the same way as a cat who corners and tortures its prey all in the name of entertainment. As feedback threatens to engulf the otherwise swinging “Deux yeux au fond d’une pièce noire” and sinister phantoms haunt the otherwise sweet-sounding ballad “Après tout,” Jonathan Personne takes some unexpected musical turns that will haunt your memories for days to come.
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