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Album Review

French pop songwriter Dick Annegarn is a hard one to pin down. On just the first four cuts, he jumps from a solo acoustic piece to dramatically phased rock & roll to an a cappella track to lush, swirling string arrangements in the vein of Scott Walker and Jacques Brel. He has a playfulness that could be likened to a French Paolo Conte or a modern Charles Trenet juxtaposed with sincere and complex song structures, arrangements, and experimental creativity. It is obvious that the original LP ends side one with a beautiful pair of tracks, "Paladin Braconnier" and "Coutances," only for the fact that after the showcase of slippery strings and circular guitar riffs, "Nicotine Queen" breaks in with a folk-funk groove reminiscent of the early-'70s Los Angeles experimental folk crowd, and unfortunately makes the otherwise excellent track seem out of place. The transition, or lack thereof, comes as a bit of a shock, but the album works as a whole if listened to with that in mind and is well-worth getting for "Les Enfants." "Les Enfants," with its charmingly out-of-tune whistle calling to the string section, is an obtuse mini-masterpiece where the strings often take the role of chaotic sound effects until they open up into a harmonious and delicate palate. Mireille is a stunning album in that it accomplishes so much in such a short time and fills the space with relatively few instruments. Again, the only noticeable flaw is how the album flows — but Annegarn cannot be scolded for failing to predict the compact disc format.


Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Dick Annegarn is an acclaimed French-language singer/songwriter of Dutch origin who began his recording career in the early '70s and was sporadically active for several decades thereafter. Born on May 6, 1952, in the Hague, the Netherlands, he grew up in Brussels and later moved to Paris, where he began his recording career. He made his full-length solo album debut in 1974 with Sacré Géranium on Polydor. Featuring one of his best-known songs, "Bruxelles," the album was followed quickly by a few others:...
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Mireille, Dick Annegarn
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