February 11th — Plastic Love.
I do not speak French, nor do I have any plans to learn the language in the immediate future. I’ve honestly developed a negative view on the language as a result of a failed relationship with a French major and a community college statistics professor who’s heavy French accent, and abrasive attitude made it rather easy to hate the French and their language. Admittedly my distaste for all things French should be considered as estranged childish theatrics I like to act out. Still, as a consequence of my imagined hatred, I have shuttered all things French, including their music.
I opted to confront my animosity towards the French through this assignment and repeatedly blasted my ears with “Amour Plastique” by the French electropop duo Videolclub. No matter how many times I looped “Amour Plastique” through my little AirPods, the opening lyric of the song “Dans mon esprit tout divague” will forever and always be absolutely meaningless to me outside of the context of Adèle Castillon and Matthieu Reynaud voices’ overlapped with their synthy rhythms.
As I listened to the voices of Castillon and Reynaud over and over and over, their words and the voices themselves began to fold into the broader auditory experience. It was hard to distinguish a synth from a name and vice versa; however, through this, the concept of voice as an instrument became clear. This auditory mixture I experienced during “Amour Plastique” was reminiscent of the Gibbens’ aria that worked in conjunction with a piano to simultaneously blend the role of a keyboard into the words and also minimizes the importance of the instruments to the audience. While Gibbens’ aria and Videoclub’s music operate on opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, the language barrier of both examples similarly influenced how I interpreted both songs and voices. Because I was unable to apply verbal meaning to the sounds, I heard the information the voice carried as an emotional element. Without word-association, voice transforms into a more fundamental transmitter of raw emotion between people. The aria made me feel like I was floating. Still, the musical texture of “Amour Plastique” pulled me in and accentuated the emotive elements of the lyrics and made it possible for me to interpret it as a love song despite having to Google what Amour Plastique means in English. (Plastic Love).