Christine and the Queens’ Restless Self-Inventions

Hanif Abdurraqib at The New Yorker:

In 2014, Christine and the Queens’ French album début, “Chaleur Humaine” (“Human Warmth”), became a runaway hit; the following year, a self-titled version appeared in the U.S., with many of the lyrics reworked into English. The songs had infectious hooks and shimmering electronic instrumentation. Back then, Letissier used feminine pronouns, but he was already casting off the strictures of gender. The opening song of the début album, “iT,” was a danceable tune in which bright drops of synthesizer rained into caverns of pulsating bass. The lyrics were a priapic fantasy: “I’ll rule over all my dead impersonations / ’Cause I’ve got it / I’m a man now.” I saw Christine and the Queens perform in 2015, in New York, and recall how hard-earned those declarations seemed to be. Christine—petite, lithe, androgynous—seemed at ease in a dark suit, standing at the front of the stage or dancing in a wash of blue light. But there were moments when the line between Letissier’s different selves blurred. During one rapturous wave of applause, he teared up, then apologized for the lapse, admitting, “I wanted to be fierce.”

more here.