For her eighth album, Raconte-moi, American singer Stacey Kent interprets 12 songs in French. She was taught the language by her Russian grandfather who fled the Bolshevik revolution to Paris and, after several years, moved to the United States. Kent's perception of the language is imbued with tenderness and nostalgia - all of which colour Raconte-moi.
The album starts cheerfully with two classics, one Brazilian and one French. Les Eaux de Mars is Kent's interpretation of the timeless bossa nova hit Aguas De Marco by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jardin d'Hiver was first composed for French singer Henri Salvador; it was a meeting between Salvador and Kent that inspired her to do this album.
Then follows a series of French songs composed for Kent - light, sensual, melodious and poetic. Some tracks have strong jazzy instruments (L'etang, Sait-on jamais), while others kick in more rhythm with Hispanic sounds (Mi Amor) or unusual combinations of sounds (Desuets).
The lead single is the very cheerful La Venus du Melo, and the catchiest song here. Another highlight is Le Mal de Vivre, a sad but moving melody that showcases her subtle voice.
Raconte-moi is not revolutionary but is deliciously poetic: perfect for romantic or chill-out evenings.
YP rating: 3/5