BACKGROUND: French singer Sindy is a member of a collective called Team BS, which was started by a highly successful French rapper/producer who goes by the name La Fouine. The group is called Team BS because the name of La Fouine’s record label is Banlieue Sale (translation: Dirty Suburb). Most of the team consists of rappers, such as Fababy and Sultan, Sindy being the only singer from what I’ve been able to gather. In any case, the group has had some big hits, including one that was actually called “Team BS.” Before becoming a member of the collective, Sindy was on the television competition Popstars where La Fouine was one of the judges. Apparently, she didn’t win but he was impressed enough that he asked her to join the team. Selfie is Cindy’s first solo album, but I believe that she collaborated on it with some of the Team BS members, including La Fouine himself.
First of all, please don’t hold the title of this album against it. I believe she’s using it not just because selfies are all the rage but because her album is introspective and she felt like she could finally introduce herself as an individual with it. Which is probably why she didn’t put a hashtag in the title. Who really cares about what an album is called anyway? It’s the music that’s there to impress you and Selfie is a very impressive album, a major beat-fest that blurs the lines between French Pop, R&B, and electro. And, yes, the album is in French. If that turns you away, well, then you’ll miss out on some of the catchiest pop tunes released lately. Personally, I know some French and can understand a good portion of the lyrics accordingly, but I listen to music in plenty of other languages that I don’t know at all. The way I see it, the voice is just another instrument and you can feel a songs emotions and get captured by its hooks even if you don’t know the language that it’s in. If you can look at it that way and give this a listen, I think you’ll really like it, provided you’re a pop music fan, of course.
For the most part, Selfie is a perfect debut. It’s not flawless, but it comes close, and that’s impressive when you consider that Sindy is still a teenager (she looks about 16 on the cover). This is one of those debut albums that’s sure to become a classic, like the debut albums by Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Alizée.
The album opens with one of its strongest track,”Dis-moi” (translation: “Tell Me”), a punchy pop nugget that’s halfway between a ballad and a banger; Sindy sings it beautifully and powerfully. Another highlight is “Aïe aïe aïe,” which I do not know the translation of and neither did Google translate. (I think it’s just something people say in France like how older people here will say “oy yoi yoi.”) But all I really care about is if the song is catchy and it sure is. It’s a different sort of song though, the way the beats groove along reminds me of what Pharrell Williams used to do with N.E.R.D. You’d swear he produced it. It could be a lost Gwen Stefani song, too. Which isn’t to say that it’s unoriginal. I’m just speculating about some of its influences to give you an idea of what it sounds like.
I’m also quite fond of “Danse encore,” which means “Dance Again,” as you could probably guess. It starts off with almost a salsa vibe with its snappy percussion and bursts of horns. But it isn’t long before some major beats drop, ripe for dancing. (It sounds like it would be an excellent song for belly dancing.) It’s like a French take on Shakira. Not any specific Shakira song, just her overall vibe. To that end, they were definitely paying homage to Spanish music when they wrote this one because there are even a couple of lines in Spanish.
I should also mention the major hit “Sans Rancune,” a hard hitting song with some beats that sound like live drums, whereas the rest of the album generally sounds programmed, which is one of the reasons why it has an electro feel.
The only two songs on the album that I don’t care are the two that use auto-tune, “Est-ce que tu me suis” and “Je m’en fous.” They’re clearly using auto-tune to give the songs a different feel, as Sindy has a great voice and is far from needing it. Truthfully, they aren’t awful songs, but they’re not as infectious as the songs I’ve written about above. Besides, ultimately, you have a fourteen track album where only two of the songs are less than wonderful. I’d say that makes it an album well-worth checking out.