Benjamin Biolay: "When it comes to talking about sex, I find the metaphors disgusting"

Benjamin Biolay: “When it comes to talking about sex, I find the metaphors disgusting”

the essential
Two years after the triumph of “Grand Prix”, Benjamin Biolay returns with a new album – the tenth – entitled “Saint-Clair”, in homage to Sète, his new city of heart. Before hitting the road again from the summer of 2023 for a major tour.

It’s a solid album, with 16 songs and an introductory instrumental. A pop and rock album, intimate and lyrical, crossed by tormented loves and repeated anguish. Pure Benjamin Biolay, alternately energetic and melancholy, which espouses all human feelings. And finds an immediate ear with the poor sinners that we are, marked by love fever, painful separations; loneliness, the fatal outcome.
“My concerns are very simple, earthy, universal, explains Benjamin Biolay between two puffs of a cigarette. I speak of love, of life, of death, of faith. What makes the existence of a normal guy. The song is a bit artificial but, on the emotions I feel, I never cheat. »

Jim Morrison and Georges Brassens

Including when the artist addresses the theme of sex head-on. “In this field, I find the metaphors disgusting. I prefer to say The guy tape rather than to speak of protuberance. I still dreamed of her and the sheets remember her, the group Once upon a time whispered to us (in 1974). This sentence, I find it horrible, not at all sexy. »
Nothing is trivial or lukewarm with Benjamin Biolay: it lives, it rustles, it overflows. “My lyrics are a bit like jazz. I’m not looking for the right start, the right development, the right fall. I like to surprise. I act epidermically: when I feel that I’m turning to schoolboy duty, that I’m becoming boring, I give a big swerve. »
Benjamin Biolay likes, in the history of art, those who rushed into the stretchers, at the risk of burning their wings. “Jim Morrison is the synthesis of rock. You have to see him in a live performance in Los Angeles in 1968. He’s a marvelous crooner, who sings like a god, while giving off dog howls at times. The charm singer becomes an absolute punk. It’s insane! »
The singer quotes another anti-conformist, Georges Brassens. “A biography about him is called The Unbeliever of God. That’s quite right. He talks non-stop about God and at the same time he can’t help sending little anti-clerical tackles. »
Who says Brassens says Sète, of course, where Benjamin Biolay has found a new home base.
“Sète is a virtuous circle in my life. As in Argentina (where he often goes, editor’s note), I find there in a certain way my Italian roots. I had no trouble getting used to it. I have the impression of living like them, far from an overcrowded, too intense Paris, which I don’t necessarily like. Sète is a small town with a more fixed decor than it seems when the tourists have left. I like this. »

Saint Clara

An excellent songwriter-producer for others, Benjamin Biolay has often worked for women, from Vanessa Paradis to Nolwenn Leroy. Another singer has occupied his thoughts for years: Clara Luciani, with whom he shares the title “Santa Clara”.
“Clara, I was lucky to have her as the opening act on my Argentinian tour. We often sang together on stage and on TV shows. For this duo, I think she embodies summer perfectly. I love his diction, his voice. The fact also that she forms, with Juliette Armanet, Pomme, Hoshi, etc., this generation of girls who have become top singers, performers, authors and composers all at the same time. It’s quite new and I think it’s great. »

Dance and confidences

Even if he lent himself to it for “Grand Prix”, Benjamin Biolay now refuses so-called Deluxe reissues “not very respectful of people who still buy records” and “often very poor with just an average unreleased and banal live”. . His “Saint-Clair” is therefore complete with its 17 titles. In a variety of styles and moods that is a pleasure to hear. “Les Joues Roses”, “Petit chat” or “Forever” are very rock (the hallmark of guitarist Pierre Jaconelli, co-director of the album). “Return the love! » and « Mort de joie » have beautiful pop colors. Our favorites are the very danceable “City Lights” and “Barefoot in the Sand” (and its disco fiddles). And then also ballads, a genre in which Biolay excels. In this register, “(Un) Ravel” is overwhelming, and even more “Yet”, a disturbing confession in which he admits: “I did my best to die young and that they leave me”. Left, BB has often been. But, at 49, he is still dashing.

Album “Saint-Clair” (Polydor/Universal, released Friday September 9).
French tour in 2023.

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