SOUNDTRACK:CŒUR DE PIRATE-Cœur de pirate (2008).
Cœur de Pirate is the band name of Béatrice Martin, a Québécois singer and piano prodigy. She was 19 when she released this album (and was accepted into conservatory school in Montreal when she was nine).
Given her musical background, one might expect more elaborately created music–more chamber pop, perhaps. But this debut album is delightfully sweet and spare indie pop. It is primarily simple piano songs with occasional extra accompaniment.
Most of the songs are simple, with unfussy arrangements and Martin’s beautiful voice. The songs verge from charming piano melody to simple waltz to piano instrumental and a few upbeat almost dancey songs. There’s even a guitar based song that adds a folk feel to the album.
There are 12 songs and the album runs only to 30 minutes. It is charming and delightful. The only thing I didn’t like so much was when Jimmy Hunt duets with her on “Pour un infidèle.” It’s not that I disliked his voice (which I did grow to appreciate after a few listens) it’s that his voice removes you from the insular little world that Martin has created. When I am in it I don’t want any distractions.
The album definitely has a Francophone feel to it (her songs were described as “bringing la chanson française to a whole new generation of Quebec youth”) although she does remind me a bit of Regina Spektor’s later songs, too.
She also had a fluke hit with “Ensemble” when it was used with a funny baby based YouTube video that went viral (I’ve posted that at the bottom of the page).
You can listen to the whole album below
[READ: September 17, 2015] The Complete Peanuts 1953-1954
Moving on to volume 2 of the Complete Peanuts. As 1953 opened, the characters remained in that older style–Snoopy still looks a lot like a dog, and Charlie’s head is still much bigger (or actually I guess his face is still smaller). By the end of the book, they have morphed a little closer to the Peanuts most of us are familiar with, but they still look “different.”
I enjoy the way the Schulz celebrates the holidays with a simple but nice sentiment (Schroeder playing his piano with the music staff reading “Happy New Year”). Indeed, Schulz celebrates most holidays. Valentine’s Day, Income Tax Day (!) and of course, he has lots of fun with Hallowen (no great pumpkin yet though).
This volume seems to be a lot about Lucy (which may be why she is on the cover). In the first few strips she gets expelled from nursery school. Later on she quits nursery school because they didn’t teach how to be a nurse. Lucy also tends to have a regular punchline, with regard to Schroeder of “I’ll probably never get married.” Lucy also begins in earnest her counting career–trying to count all the stars (and getting exhausted) or all the raindrops, or the amount she jumps rope. And she is still a fussbudget, with a joke at the end of 1954 having Schroeder compose the “Fuddbudget Sonata” for her.
Linus, who is still a baby, has taken to “shooting” people with his finger (he struggles to crawl for a ball only to have Snoopy walk up and take it away, so he looks at Snoopy and says “bang”). He is still crawling and toddling for much of the year, although by the end he seems to be growing up. Nevertheless, Lucy is still giving him a hard time–constantly shouting at him when he is not looking and then commenting that “he’s awfully nervous.”
There’s a lot of baseball jokes as they move into spring (how did he keep coming up with original baseball jokes after all those years?) inducing jokes about sponsorship. And then Lucy starts taking up golf (and is very good at it).
Schroeder continues to play beautifully (and to get upset by everyone who bothers him, especially Lucy and Snoopy. He has a crisis of conscience when he says “sometimes I thin I like Brahms even better than Beethoven.”
Schulz included some occasionally topical material. So there’s a joke about the popularity of “Doggie in the Window” (It went to number 1 in April of 1953 and stayed there for 8 weeks). Snoopy has been listening to it all day.
And of course there is a ton about Snoopy too. he still looks like a dog and still does a lot of doggie things (and Schulz is always spot on with them). I really like the joke where Snoopy eats a moth and then coughs up the dryness. Or when he falls asleep under a tree and wakes up covered in leaves. There are even a few jokes in which Snoopy hates being patted on the head. And of course, Snoopy just loves zooming around (especially through croquet hoops). This is mostly like Snoopy giving everyone a hard time, especially Charlie Brown (with the constant refrain of “You drive me crazy”).
One thing that I like about these early strips is that even though Charlie Brown has a lot of angst, he also has a great deal of self-confidence. Like when he is mad at Violet and the punch line is “but I know you don’t think I’m Perfect) There’s even a funny joke (or series of jokes) about graffiti on a fence (!). In one, it says “Charlie Brown loves all the girls” (in another it says “Charlie Brown loves Charlie Brown”).
The TV jokes continue (I especially like the one with Shermy watching and the screen clears up to say Why Aren’t You in School?). Most of them are variations on people sitting on front of each other. and blocking the view.
In June of 1954, Schulz uses the word security to refer to Linus’ blanket (evidently coining the phrase “security blanket”), which continues in one form or another throughout the book. Linus starts to become really smart–outwitting Charlie Brown at houses of cards and magic tricks and the wonderful punchline of him blowing up a square balloon.
The biggest change comes in July 1954 with the addition of Pig Pen or ‘Pig Pen’ as he was first called. He doesn’t do a lot but it leads to a lot of jokes about being dirty.
And in December 1954, a new short-lived character named Charlotte Braun (or Good Ol’ Charlotte Braun) enters the strip. She has wild curly hair and talks very loudly. She is something of a foil to Charlie, but she is never really developed.
The book has a Foreword by Walter Cronkite. He says that he was supposed to interview Schulz, but on the day they were scheduled, he took ill. So Cronkite never got to meet with Schulz. This is shame although I have to say that Schulz and Cronkite were such huge figures that they certainly should have met many times over the years.
Cronkite reveals a bit more about the Schulz’ Sparky nickname–that he was given the nickname by an uncle who was referencing the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google strip. I like Cronkite’ summary:
Now here you have a confluence of coincidences that would never be accepted even by the producers of a Hollywood pot-boiler. A baby nicknamed after a cartoon characters growing up to be one of the greatest and most popular cartoonist of all time!
Cronkite also praises Schulz’ economy of dialogue and illustration and likewise keeps his own foreword brief as well.
I’m really excited about continuing through the years with these books.
For ease of searching I include Coeur de Pirate, Beatrice Martin, Quebecois, francaise
And here’s that (very funny) viral video that used the Cœur de pirate song:
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