Zaz: Effet Miroir

February 26, 2019

Mood Synthesizer

Listening Post 190. Camus argued that travel is a spiritual testing, stripping us of habitual surroundings and taking us not away from but toward our essence. Zaz, one of the most popular French artists abroad, did three world tours in four years and says her adventures reshaped her sense of self. Known for retro-modern French chanson and jazz manouche, on Effet Miroir (Mirror Effect), her fourth album, she presents a more nuanced and eclectic soundscape, 15 songs (three self-written) uniting diverse personal facets and contradictions and mixed with multiple genres—chanson, to be sure, but also salsa, rock, pop, country and soul—into a synthesized self-portrait. In Qué vendrá (Whatever Happens), Zaz—born Isabelle Geffroy—delivers an irrepressible French-Spanish reflection on writing her own life (video 1). There’s a revealing tenderness to Demain c’est toi (Tomorrow It’s You), about the child she hopes to have one day (video 2); and with the intimate Ma valse (My Waltz) she enters a dazzling reverie of confidence and vulnerability, embracing her bright and dark sides (video 3). Nos vies (Our Lives) is an optimistic poem of coexistence, whether for the world or for two (video 4). Insouciant and pensive, outgoing and solitary, simultaneously fearful and ready to open up, Zaz channels her selves into her art. But her career, built around a warm, low, hoarse and mesmerizing voice plus an incandescent persona, carries one more strand: “I’m not Piaf,” she says in response to comparisons that began with her first album in 2010. Charles Aznavour—one of Piaf’s protégés—also drew the parallel, and after a duet with Zaz dubbed their partnership “ZAZnavour.” Last year producer Thomas Langmann, (The Artist), approached Zaz about playing La Môme in an upcoming film. Though she lacks Piaf’s tragic biography, now that Zaz knows herself better here’s betting she can act as well as sing. (Play On/Warner Music France)

Related post: Zaz: Paris, Listening Post 28, January 4, 2016.

Zaz: Paris


Qué vendrá/Whatever Happens
Lyrics: Luis Frochoso, Laurent Lamarca/Music: Davide Esposito
(from the French and Spanish lyrics)
It doesn’t matter where I go/As long as I have the courage
To hold someone’s hand/To love the passing of time
In everything I do/Madness and love embrace each other
Be it mine or be it yours/Life is larger than us

Whatever happens/I’ll write my own way
Without worrying/About where it will end

In my joys and my sorrows, in my choices and my tears/I let my feelings flow
At best we write our paths the way we heal/To love openly
On the quicksands of a crumbling past/I hang on to those I love
Taking care of each second/The hours will care for themselves

Whatever happens/I’ll write my own way
Without worrying/About where it will end
Whatever happens/I’ll write my way
If I get lost, I’ve already found myself/I know I have to keep going

Since we’re here without knowing/What awaits us just ahead
Trusting my own instinct is healing me
Since all of this is way too short
I’ll love until my final day/Until my very last breath

Whatever happens/I don’t know where I will end
Without worrying about tomorrow
Whatever happens/I’ll write my own way
If I get lost I’ve already found myself/And I know I have to keep going


Demain c’est toi/Tomorrow It’s You
Lyrics: Gael Faye/Music: Ben Mazué, Guillaume Poncelet
(from the French lyrics)
I imagine paths that are waiting for you only/To you, the child who comes, I anticipate your steps
I whisper your name in the breath of my voice/I’ll offer you the world, you, who I don’t yet know
I open my heart wide as you open your hands/I hope your happiness is as big as mine

Tomorrow it’s you

I’m learning the alphabets of each of your actions/I sing you my dreams about space and the far West
What I want for you is love, most rare and precious/All the beauty of the world within your eyes’ reach
My fists are white-hot/Forging tomorrow’s happy times that I wish for you as great as mine

Tomorrow it’s you

I’ll give you the keys to open every safe/I’ll smash to smithereens any prison walls that confine you
I’ll go to the end of the world so as not to leave you/All what I don’t tell you
Will be because you know it all/Will be because you know it all

To you the child who comes as the day breaks/May you find happy times as big as mine
Tomorrow it’s you


Ma valse/My Waltz
Lyrics & Music: Isabelle Geffroy
(from the French lyrics)
Watch me smile/Like a rose in the breeze
Fluttering, becoming beautiful/Under the burning desire
Of being alive and regal/In my innocent world
In these showers of light/Melting into my earth

Watch me open up/To a love that offers me
Its arms and its breath/To warm my blood
And the moss beneath my feet/Like a silken rug
A base for my bed/Releasing me sometimes

Watch me suffer/When I no longer love myself
So afraid of being seen/Of being laid bare
When I’m vulnerable/And nobody hears
The scale of the horror/That scolds and that scorns

Look at this vast emptiness/This gentlest of unknowns
I am desperate to succumb/Wait for nothing anymore
A silence that’s frightening/But no longer surprising
Because I know inside and out/The taste of its ashes

Wearing love on my sleeve/Like a stolen gift
I’d like to be a mother/To make me feel whole
To give me warmth/Consideration and reprieve
To give me softness/To give me respite

How do we give ourselves/This love we all wait for
Which is never enough/Which we know not how to take
Even when we surprise ourselves/By opening our heart
We close it again so quickly/For fear of drowning

And then one night, one day/We dare to accept it
This pearl, this golden key/That was buried so deep
In the depths of our minds/At the edge of the pier
Contemplating the red sky/Of faded dreams

It’s a hunger that takes over/Like an anger in the gut
An elusive fervor/That screams as it haunts
Like an old ghost tired/Of not being recognised
Of being listened to without fear/Of being able to be read

Watch me fight/Against all, against nothing
A prisoner in my cage/That I built, bit by bit
Telling my story/So I don’t forget it
It grips me today/By the throat: My freedom

I’m done, that’s enough/Of being a victim
Of this senseless fear/That sings its anthem
That I carry within/Like a waving flag
In the winds of the past/In the tree of nothingness

I’m finishing the story/Letting the wind blow
I’m giving it hope/And the breath of long ago
I put back in the ground/Its mistaken beliefs
That I was taught well/But that have no foundation

If I want to live in this world/My life, my way
I agree to live by my law/Unite my soul with my reason
I’m letting go/I’m daring to live
I’m letting go/And I’m daring to live


Nos vies/Our Lives
Lyrics: Tibz/Music: Hugo Lab, Tibz
(from the French lyrics)
We are stars in this clear blue sky/And we will set sail when we can
We are that smile that we know by heart/We are those who laugh, we are those who cry

We are a parent’s tear when their child is afraid/Our feet on the ground, our heads in the clouds
We are the people of yesterday, we are the light/That shines even in the dark, and never goes out

For sure, we are good together/I swear, that our lives are alike
I know, we’ll be drawn to each other/For sure, we are good together

Oh Oh Oh

Our pockets overflow with tenderness/We’ll cherish our loved ones, and learn exhilaration
We have strong nerves, we’re made for each other/We are stars in this clear blue sky

We will never be alone when we are together/We’re a tight pack, a pack of wolves
We are soul-searching man and self-discovering woman/A love in our hearts that says we’re meant to be

For sure, we are good together/I swear, that our lives are alike
I know, we’ll be drawn to each other/For sure, we are good together









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