Editors’ Notes “I’d been wanting to do a Christmas album for 15 years,” Montreal crooner Pierre Lapointe tells Apple Music. “Until very recently, people raised their eyebrows when I told them about the project.” That’s because, since his 2004 debut, Lapointe’s songs have gradually transformed into theatrical works, with each new project more complex than the last. “I’m glad that I waited before making this album, because I believe the tools I have for composing songs are much more solid than they were before,” he explains. “I think the process is particularly well-suited for an album where I explore the bittersweet lightness of the holiday season.” Here he tells us about his winter songs, and all their melancholy details.

Chaque année on y revient
“The guy who’s already drunk when the party is just beginning, the little dog begging for food, the brother-in-law who’s more or less happy about being picked to play Santa... I think everyone has these kinds of memories of family Christmases. The refrain says it all for me: We don’t choose the people in our family, who sometimes get on our nerves, but who we’ll love our whole life regardless. The musical composition was created by Julyan, Hubert Lenoir’s brother, who collaborated on my album Pour déjouer l’ennui.”

Ce qu’on sait déjà
“I was inspired by ‘See My Baby Jive’ by Wizzard, a '70s British glam rock band. It’s a totally mind-blowing song, and it also has something of a Phil Spector sound to it. I wrote the melody first, which wasn’t imbued with that type of ambiance at all initially. With producer Emmanuel Ethier, we transformed it to give it all that energy. It talks about new and somewhat ambiguous relationships that you haven’t yet put a label on.”

Le premier Noël de Jules
“I’m the godfather of a beautiful little boy who I’ve not been able to see as much as I’d like to because of the pandemic. I couldn’t be there to help prepare for his arrival or be present when he was born. And I find that really hard. So for me, this song is a godfather’s gift, to tell him I’m there despite everything. I didn't write lyrics saying that everything will be okay. I thought that if he’s going through a difficult period later on, he’ll be able to listen to this song and understand that it’s normal things aren’t always nice and easy. I tell him life will be wonderful, but it’ll hurt too. It’s as if I’m leaning over his crib to grant him the gift of lucidity!”

Chez Clara
“I was inspired by a party I attended with friends in an apartment in Paris, and I added a bit of melodrama, which I’m so good at, to magnify reality. People were very elegantly dressed, Gucci-style with retro accents. That’s why, as well as making the ambiance even more grandiose and theatrical, the sounds draw on music from the '30s.”

Ça va, j’ai donné
“Again, the music was composed by Julyan. I found there was something really beautiful about the slow pace. I decided to talk about a guy in his late thirties who dashes from one New Year’s Eve party to the next so he can have the best evening possible, but ends up having no fun at all. It’s happened to me, and I think we’ve all been in that situation. I also wanted to play on the custom of New Year’s resolutions: There’s a period in life when you believe you can change everything, but then there comes a time when a certain wisdom sets in and you have nothing left to prove.”

L’Oiseau rare
“It’s a song that talks about the arrival of the new year and of lost loves. I like how it describes a romantic relationship in terms of a rare bird with damaged feathers that goes off to die in the bitter January cold. Here again, we opted for retro orchestral arrangements, very Phil Spector, which were created by Owen Pallett, who’s worked with Arcade Fire.”

Six heures d’avion nous séparent
“It’s a breakup song I made in collaboration with French singer-songwriter Alma Forrer and her boyfriend Benjamin Porraz. As I progressed with the writing, the idea of a duet took root. I chose Paris and Montreal as the scene of the action, which illustrates my life these past few years. I felt like singing with another man–a man who lives in Europe, so as not to destroy the magic of the song. So we thought of MIKA, who immediately agreed to come on board.”

Toutes les couleurs
“The lyrics and music were co-written with Félix Dyotte, who’s an amazing singer-songwriter, one of the best in Quebec in my opinion. He’s an incredibly talented melodist. It talks again about separation at Christmastime, of that emptiness you can feel at the end of the holiday season when everything calms down again. And which can be hard to deal with when you’re brokenhearted.”

Noël Lougawou
“To counterbalance the duet with MIKA, I felt like doing another duet that would lean more towards indie music, because I think I’m an artist who’s got one foot in pop culture and the other in the avant-garde. I thought about the albums I’ve liked the most these past few years; Mélissa Laveaux’s Radyo siwèl is definitely one of them. I wrote to her and suggested I would sing in Creole, and she loved the idea. I helped write the chorus in French, and Mélissa did everything else. We ended up with this song in Creole that has a very Halloween-like atmosphere. It’s the first time in my life I’ve sung in a language other than French.”

Un Noël perdu dans Paris
“I’d just spent two weeks with friends who’d come to see me in Paris. When they left, I felt this emptiness. I wasn’t feeling heartbroken at all, but I pictured this guy who’d come to Paris to take his mind off things after a breakup, only to realize that his sadness had followed him. At the same time, I’d just discovered ‘Niño Lindo,’ a traditional Venezuelan song. I put an excerpt at the beginning and end of the track to emphasize the fact that this person was, in a way, looking for a change of scenery, but finds himself in a place that’s totally incompatible with his fantasy.”

Maman, Papa
“This track is dedicated to a friend whose family hasn’t accepted the fact that he’s fallen in love with another man. This is the kind of horror story too many people around me have experienced. It’s my way of trying to do good for all those who have been through it, but also of trying to build a bridge to reconciliation with the people who rejected them. The song talks about our need to exist within our family, which is our first cycle of life, the first micro-society where we learn to be a human being.”

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