We can no longer approach a new Renaud album without discomfort. Even before listening to the first song, we are already wondering: will he get there? His voice has never been fair or beautiful, it’s true. But it really hasn’t improved over the years. He’s been sober for over a year, he says, but his excesses leave deep scars…
Renaud, in 2022, still talks as much as he hums. His voice derails even more than before, dies out in hoarseness. Before, his singing had the impetus of his convictions, his malice and his tenderness. He is now out of breath. It’s windy from The Meteca song by Georges Moustaki, which a rock-like coating does not lift.
It’s even sadder on The cherry season, whose arrangements (including a delicate mandolin) are truly beautiful. This is also the main quality of this disc: its meticulous music, from the rhythms to the soaring strings. Boxes almost too beautiful for a voice incapable of honoring them.
Renaud is doing a little better on If you buy me a drink (associated with Serge Reggiani) where he tries less to sing and where his flaws become touching given what we know of recent years. The feeling is similar on Tenderness (Bourville). However, it does not last with the pieces that come after. You have to be bitten as hell to want to listen to this collection of great songs poorly served by an interpreter that you have to resign yourself to loving in the past tense.