In the closing lines of her “Next Time You See Me,” Laetitia Sadier proclaims, “We know well that only art suggests there is a way out.” My official endorsement for the most tattooable lyrics of 2012… there you go. Laetitia Sadier might seem like a bit of a cliché… at least to Americans. A beautiful, cold, French existentialist who appears to be madly in-love with her own discontent, who creates postmodern music inspired by Frankfurt School cultural theory… but what part of that equation isn’t great?!?! Sadier, best known for her role in Stereolab, is back with her second solo album, Silencio, which was released today on Drag City.
Silencio is Sadier’s starkest commentary to-date. The lyricism (which Miss Sadier is happy to lay bare in the album’s liner notes) to songs like “Auscultation to the Nation” and “There is a Price to Pay for Freedom (And it isn’t Security)” read as if they could have been excerpts of Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle… not that that’s a bad thing. The album’s less critical numbers tend to resemble poeticized summarization of the first act of some films that will eventually go on to become part of The Criterion Collection. “Next Time You See Me,” tells the tale of a housewife sending her daughter off to boxing school, while she comes to terms with quietly living out her life inside the confines of heteronormativity. “Find me the Pulse of the Universe,” has Sadier talking to her friend, Sue, the mathematician, about helping her become closer to nature via equations. If my views on neo-capitalism were any less radical, I would say that the sentiments Sadier expresses on Silencio were juvenilely heavy-handed… but, I actually find them to be warranted.
Silencio, I venture to say, is the best thing Laetitia Sadier has put out at least since the hey-day of Stereolab. The sound doesn’t stray too far from her previous work… dreamy, lush, mellow synthetics with nods to twee and mods. And while the album is certainly far from peppy, it is quite pretty, something that might make you smile on a rainy day, even if only because you catch a draft of self-importance when you suspect you do “get,” her lofty musings on humanity.
*Laetitia Sadier will be in town at Johnny Brenda’s on September 23rd.