Valérie Lemercier, "95C"


A record that has been on repeat as of late, perhaps in part because of my obsessive reimmersion into Shibuya-kei. (If you missed the big playlist I began, check it out.) Reconnecting with it deeply, thoughtfully, and from the perspective of me as I am today as opposed to through a desire to, frankly, wrap myself in warm, fuzzy nostalgia, has unlocked new respect and reverence. Its whimsical expressiveness and lightning-bolt vigor and costume-party playfulness come from, yes, overstimulated and itchy brains, fidgety crate-digger fingers, but, more importantly, from curious hearts that want to simply celebrate life. Thus, while it's artificially about a sort of cosplay, it's a sincere, pure body of work, and that's what makes it so remarkably special.
 
 
But Valérie Lemercier isn't Japanese—she's French. Were I also French, I'd likely be well familiar with her by now; she was first an actress, and she remains one to this day, and it's that career for which she is perhaps best known. (I only know her face through a small role in Sabrina.) 

In the 90s, she recorded some lively, animated music, both Gen X space-age retrofuturistic kitsch and classicism chanson and yé-yé. The album is bright, saturated with fruitiness and jazzy spunk. A real treat. And, evidently, Pizzicato Five was rather infatuated with her. She and Maki Nomiya (野宮 真貴) even were matched together for a feature in H magazine in '96, in fact.

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