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The Flower Book

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Album Review

The French singer Emilie Simon had already logged a couple of albums at home when she was tapped to record the soundtrack for the French edition of the hit film March of the Penguins. It won her a couple of awards and landed her an American record deal, resulting in this compilation of material from that soundtrack and Simon's two earlier French releases. A beguiling pastiche of electronica, trip-hop, quasi-ambient music, indie rock, and whimsical dance-pop, The Flower Book is alternately wistful, adventurous, sensual, brooding, and playful. Simon has it in her to let loose, and she does, but her baby-girl voice can't help but cover the whole of the record in a soft, comfy blanket. While that lends a lullaby quality to much of it, at times there's an inescapable mischievousness to her delivery that leaves no doubt she's not as timid as she sounds. Nowhere is that clearer than in Simon's cover of the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," stripped of all venom and rage. But while such a move might seem calculated, there's no posing here, only a willingness to explore possibilities. Simon seems equally at home singing in both English and French, and she's eager to integrate a multitude of textures and moods. She also produced, arranged, wrote, and performed much of the music, and while that's admirable, of course, she sometimes missteps — an overseer to tell her no when she needs to hear no might not be a bad idea in the future. But those missteps don't come often: at her strongest, on tracks like the ethereal "Desert" and the confection "Flowers," Simon proves to be an original new voice. The Flower Book is deliciously rich and it'll be interesting to see where she goes now that she's ventured outside of the insular French music scene.

Customer Reviews

Best electronic I've heard in a L O N G time!

She has a very unique enchanting voice that really sets the mood for this type of genre. I Love the songs sweet blossom and song of the storm. Its really amazing! Check out the samples!!!!!

nice

wow her style and voice are both very sexy. i love it!

A favourite, now in the US!

I first discovered Emilie on a trip to France, in a record store on the Champs Elysées. I bought the CD (Végétal) and began spreading the word when I got back-- everyone I've had listen to it has enjoyed it nearly as much as I do. Now most of Végétal (possibly all of it) are released here in the US, with a couple of her more famous pieces from other albums, and I'm so excited that other people can share in the joy. The album is brilliant, interweaving songs in both English and French in various styles that somehow all come together perfectly. While her voice is unusual, being small and breathy, this really adds a sense of closeness and sensuousness to the songs. I've been recommending this CD since March, even before it was available in the US, and now that it has been released, it will be much easier for other people to share the wonder of Emilie Simon.

Biography

Born: July 17, 1978 in Montpellier, France

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although Emilie Simon is a conservatory-trained experimental musician with a strong theoretical grounding, she has also made a name for herself both as a mainstream soundtrack composer and as an electronic pop musician not far removed from Björk or the Knife, with a distinctively soft, almost babyish voice that at times recalls both early Kate Bush and Claudine Longet. Born in the small coastal city of Montpellier, France, in 1978 into a musical family (her mother is a pianist, her father a sound...
Full Bio
The Flower Book, Émilie Simon
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