Lou Doillon: Places


Videos by American Songwriter

Lou Doillon
(Verve Records)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

As the daughter of international icon Jane Birkin and director Jacques Doillon, it’s only natural that Lou Doillon would choose to dabble in a creative field. As it happens, Doillon has tried on careers ranging from designing clothes to modeling, and now she’s finally ready to give her private singing and songwriting hobbies a public platform with her debut album, Places.

Although Doillon is just now releasing the album in the U.S., her 11 tracks have already received rave reviews overseas. It’s easy to feel cynical when the offspring of 1970s icons start following in their parents’ footsteps, but Doillon proves that nepotism isn’t necessarily the worst thing.

The record was produced by French pop musician Etienne Daho, but Places has a decidedly American feel, thanks to Doillon’s upbringing listening to American blues. While the rolling tempos on most of the 11 tracks aren’t exactly anything to write home about, Doillon’s captivating voice makes up for any areas where the melody goes flat—and even more impressive is Ms. Doillon’s ability to write whimsical, yet powerful, lyrics.

Places kicks off ideally with “ICU,” a mid-tempo, vocally-driven song about missing a long lost friend. If you look past the text-speak title, “ICU” is the perfect opener for an album that seems to channel parts of Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith and Regina Spektor. Keeping with the theme of a lover scorned, Doillon continues to open up about a lover’s quarrel in the album’s first single, “Devil or Angel.” The other nine tracks also explore her cynical and poignant viewpoints on war, depression, religion and jealousy.

The title track is where Doillon truly shines, both lyrically and musically. “Places” starts out with a soft piano melody, while Ms. Doillon chimes to sing about the violent state of the world with a haunting and quiet voice.  As the music crescendos, it grows angrier and more orchestral, and Doillon’s voice grows louder and more desperate. “Perfected our weapons / But we still need more / To balance my peace / I’m selling you war / Can you afford it?” she sings.

Ultimately, most tracks on Places sound pretty similar to one another, but Doillon’s vocal talent makes the album an easy listen for hazy summer days when you just want to kick back and relax.

Leave a Reply

BMI Sues Pandora Over Royalty Rates