Toute beauté n'est pas perdue

Toute beauté n'est pas perdue

On Toute beauté n’est pas perdue (rough translation: “all beauty isn’t lost”), Vincent Vallières’ eighth album since 1999, the Sherbrooke singer-songwriter tells stories of characters who, each in their own way, are experiencing moments of midlife doubt. But through that uncertainty, Vallières’ subjects make their way towards a feeling of calm. Like these personal transformations, Vallières’ own creative process also underwent a reassessment. “Originally, I’d intended to use several machines, like drum synthesizers and keyboards,” Vallières tells Apple Music. “Except I wasn’t really satisfied with the results. That’s when I asked Martin Léon, a friend and true mentor, to challenge my lyrics and arrangements, setting in motion a process that lasted several months.” Together they pared back the songs to the bare melodic essentials. “It's a project that required profound introspection,” he says of the 11 tracks, which he walks us through here. “Heille Vallières” “It’s a collaboration with Martin Léon on the writing and Andre Papanicolaou on the music. I’d initially started to compose this song for a friend, but Martin made me realize that it was really me I was talking about. Among other things, I question my ability to still feel a sense of awe, to live in the moment and to surprise even myself.” “Homme de rien” “It’s one of the first tracks that went through the transformation process I was talking about earlier. It helped me to set the tone for the entire album. While the verses deal with darker moments when you question your place in life and feel that you’re pretty ordinary, the refrains draw away from this gloominess to breathe a bit of lucidity and light into the song.” “Elle n’entend plus battre son cœur” “This song is very cinematic in the way it talks about a character, and it’s also the first time I’ve used a narration from a female perspective. I recount the story of a woman who’s about my age, early forties, a mother who’s chasing the clock and has a lot on her shoulders. She takes stock, thinking back to the dreams and big ambitions she once had. Despite the moments of doubt we can sometimes have in the course of our lifetime, I believe there’s always hope.” “La somme” “I won’t hide the fact that this one is very autobiographical: It goes back over my life, from childhood to early adulthood. I revisit the memories which have made me who I am today and talk about some of the concerns, both personal and social, that I had at the time: the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late '80s, the '95 referendum, my first job, my first bereavement. And I also talk about my son, who’ll soon be going through all that himself.” “Le paysage de ton silence” “It’s a story told from the point of view of a guy who’s fallen in love with a girl, but who realizes the feeling isn’t mutual and, in a way, he finds himself trapped. He tries to be a good sport, despite having to try and supress his frustration about what turned out to be just a fleeting relationship. The role of the female character is played by Amélie Mandeville, who sings and plays bass on several songs on the album.” “Ensemble parmi les autres” “It touches on solitude and the fear of being apart after a breakup. Once again, I play on the dichotomy between the gloomier verses and the refrains, in which the character says he hopes that one day he and the person he’s been in love with will be able to move on and recover.” “On dansera sous la pluie” “It’s a duo with Ingrid St-Pierre, who I’ve known for a long time. She’s a very good friend and a bit like a sister when it comes to music. I like her sensitivity and her signature vocals. It’s a very personal track I wrote as a tribute to my youngest daughter, who’s a true ray of sunshine in my life. Sharing such an intimate topic with Ingrid was something that came completely naturally.” “Je suis comme toi” “It all began with a super ordinary guitar riff, but one that was very effective at the same time, and might have sounded a bit like groups such as The Traveling Wilburys, The Byrds, or The Beatles. Despite all the things in life that can move us apart, both collectively and as a couple, I wanted to focus on what brings us together. I felt like conveying just how comforting it is to be together. The beginning of the album is steeped in doubt, while the closer you get to the end, the brighter it becomes, and this song contributes to that lightening of the tone.” “Entre les étoiles et toi” “It was co-written with Martin Léon and Michel-Olivier Gasse, one of my best friends, who I’ve been making music with since high school. The first version of the song was very dark: It told another story of a guy who feels he’s been messed around by a girl, but I found it more or less compelling this time around. We reworked it and turned it instead into a canvas onto which we throw images associated with a new love, one that’s still perfect and idealized.” “Le jardin se meurt” “When I first moved to my neighbourhood in Magog about 12 years ago, there were loads of other families settling here too. Their kids became friends with ours; we all had a blast together in our thirties. This song talks about that stage in adulthood when you promise yourself a good life. But that promise isn’t always kept. Some people experience an inner struggle following a breakup.” “Tout n’est pas pour toujours” “This track took on many different forms. At first, it was guitar and drums. It started to sound more like a pop song, and then we tried it with electric guitars. The more we progressed, the more layers we’d remove, and finally we ended up keeping just the piano and vocals. We came up with the idea of a duo, and Andre thought of Marjo. We started listening to her greatest hits and I realized that it was actually the perfect match. Two days later, she agreed to come on board, and working with her was amazing. She brings something very powerful to the track, which talks about the end of a cycle. It’s a song about love, but also about loss.”

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