With our new music feature Origins, artists have the chance to pull back the curtains on the stories behind their latest single. Today, Plants and Animals discuss the je ne sais quoi or “Le Queens”.
After four years away, Plants and Animals are set to return with their new full-length, The Jungle, on October 23rd. Early singles like “House on Fire” and “Sacrifice” portended a collection of catchy but chaotic sonic landscapes. The latest sample of the effort, “Le Queens”, offers a counterpoint to that aural bedlam — with a touch of Quebecois.
A haze of distorted guitars and synthesizers, “Le Queens” is a much mellower tune than the previous Jungle singles. But there’s still a sense of disorder in the background, with percussive samples running ramshackle beneath the kaleidoscopic flow of the other instruments.
Adding to what the band says is the track’s “je ne sais quoi” is the fact that it’s sung almost entirely in French. Even if you don’t understand every lyrics, however, the feeling of distorted romance is made clear in the instrumentation. Or, at least, in the bits of English singing such as, “Baby don’t you laugh/ ‘Cause hearts get broke like that.”
Check out “Le Queens” via its accompanying music video below, followed by Plants and Animals’ Origins of the song.
Prom Night in Queens, NY:
The laissez-faire and nostalgia in Françoise Hardy’s music was an inspiration for Adèle’s vocal interpretation. There is a plenitude in her voice, a melancholy, a romance that suited the lyrics and the vibe of the song.
Woody was trying to get the hang of a cool new machine that uses acoustic drums as an elaborate sampler. He had some chords programmed in but the sound didn’t fit, so Warren recorded them on a guitar. Woody played those sampled chords with his kick drum and moved through the progression using his snare. It had all the grace of a driving lesson. We ran with it.