Power pop, Bill Evans, Rita Mitsouko … Our selection of five books on music



Biographies, thematic studies on a genre or a period, autobiographical memorabilia, dictionaries, collection "one hundred best records" … The edition regularly gives pride of place to works devoted to music, in specialized structures or in generalist houses. The music section of the Culture Department has selected some recent publications.

"Power pop – Melody, choirs & rock'n'roll, 1970-2019" by Christophe Brault


In the early 1970s, when the Beatles had just split, a new generation of bands emerged, adept of sweet melodies and hardening guitars. Somewhere between pop-rock and hard rock, the genre Power Pop was born. But behind the carelessness of their melodies and vocal harmonies, many of them only reap the indifference of the general public, or even at best an ephemeral success (such My Sharona from The Knack).

Christophe Brault, former record dealer, radio collaborator and already author of a book on rock garage at the same publisher, The Word and the rest, provides a complete and chronological overview of this movement full of unknown treasures (especially between 1977 and 1981) , from the pioneer Emitt Rhodes to the figures Dwight Twilley, The Flamin 'Groovies, The dB's … and some tragic destinies too (Badfinger, Phil Seymour …). We must salute the desire to highlight some records rather than others more familiar (Wish You Were Here from Badfinger, Utopia by the formation of the same name led by Todd Rundgren) without neglecting either the first division (Blondie, Bangles, Cars …). One could regret in this selection of 100 discs the absence of Tommy Keene and contemporaries The Shins and The New Pornographers. But it is also the eternal dilemma inherent in exercise. Franck Colombani

"Power pop – Melody, choirs & rock'n'roll, 1970-2019", by Christophe Brault, ed. The Word and the rest, 252 p., 20 €.

"The Big Love – Life and Death with Bill Evans" by Laurie Verchomin


They met after a concert in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in April 1979. She, Laurie Verchomin, a 22-year-old waitress. He, Bill Evans, jazz pianist, master of musical impressionism. Soon in love, they find themselves here and there, end up living together. Bill Evans died on September 15, 1980, of internal bleeding, destroyed by his addictions to heroin and cocaine – he injects himself at the end of his life – ill-treated hepatitis, exhausting tours , the soul broken by the recent suicide of his brother Harry.

This eighteen-month life together, Laurie Verchomin had written in The Big Love: Life and Death with Bill Evans, published in 2010, based on memories, handwritten notes, letters exchanged, now translated into French by Mario Paradis for Jazz & Cie, the publishing structure of the monthly Jazz magazine. A story that deals with the couple's daily life, including their intimacy, their joys, their dark moments, the artistic act, the jazz milieu. In accompaniment, a vinyl record (33-turns in 17 cm format, that of 45-turns), allows to relive a moment of simple happiness. On August 16, 1979, the birthday of Bill Evans's 50th birthday is celebrated at a friend's house. He goes to the piano, plays a few pieces. Whose Laurie, dedicated to his lover, his muse, his support, composition on which he is working for a few weeks. Sylvain Siclier

"The Big Love – Life and Death with Bill Evans", by Laurie Verchomin, ed. Jazz & Cie, 144 p., With 1 vinyl record, 19,90 €.

"Life From A Window – Paul Weller and England Pop" by Nicolas Sauvage


Writing (and publishing) in France a sum of more than 500 pages on Paul Weller is a risky editorial bet. Iconic British rock for 40 years, the former singer of The Jam and Style Council, author of a prolific solo work since 1992, has never managed to export home the fervor he is subject to the Channel . Richly documented, meticulously analytical and always mindful of perspective, the work of Nicolas Sauvage gives all the keys to enter the world of one of the most exciting songwriters of island pop.

Singular voice of punk excitement in a trio, The Jam, separated in 1982 at the height of glory, soulman Romantic releasing rock conservatism with The Style Council, before achieving a comeback and a solo career celebrated by a generation of admirers (Oasis, Blur, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys …), this eternal Modernist has continued to renew itself, while remaining faithful to old roots. His last album, True Meanings (2018), is not for nothing one of the summits of his discography. Stéphane Davet

"Life From a Window – Paul Weller and England Pop", by Nicolas Sauvage, ed. White truck, 529 p., 32 €.

Catherine Ringer and Rita Mitsouko by Stan Cuesta


At the time when Catherine Ringer takes the road, reinterpreting with dazzling verve the repertoire of the band she formed with her companion, the guitarist Fred Chichin, until the death of the latter, in 2007, we plunge back with pleasure in the story of singer Rita Mitsouko, diva out of the norm of French pop. By choosing ten beats of the lady's journey, Stan Cuesta decrypts in a lively and concise style, the alchemy that allowed the duo to crystallize " the modernity, the audacity visual and musical quivering in the 1980s "(As explained in his preface, Alfredo Arias).

Distinguished by their atypical profiles of children of bohemia and fugue, having frequented the avant-garde theatrical, contemporary dance, the punk scene, musicals, margins and forbidden – the prison for him, the X movies for her – the Rita will condense these experiences with a whimsical DIY art. A radiant singularity that Catherine Ringer preserves today, transcending musical divisions. This book with an airy model and illustrated many photos, appears in a new collection, Les Indociles, which publishes at the same time a book by Nicolas Comment dedicated to Jacques Higelin. S.D.

"Catherine Ringer and Rita Mitsouko" by Stan Cuesta, ed. Hoëbeke / The Indociles, 224 p., 25 €.

"Rap Obsession, classic and instantaneous French rap", Abcdrduson


It is still rare to learn new things about the very recent history of French rap, as the now popular musical genre has attracted numerous publications from publishers. It was without counting the zealous of the webzine, Abcdrduson. This website created in 2000 by "three mates" deep in the suburbs of Paris in the Yvelines has never done anything like everyone else.

In Rap Obsession, paper version with very thick grain and matte photographs, his columnists have chosen to tell this story through the prism of those who work in the shadows: beatmakers, Djs, directors, directors of record companies or some rare journalists like Toma Blondeau and David Dufresne. Apart from some articles devoted to current icons (Booba, Nekfeu, Orelsan, Kaaris …), Rap Obsession strives to bring to light the unsung heroes of the genre such as Sameer Ahmad, Vîrus, Grems … Very masculine (only two articles dedicated to Diams and Casey), very sharp and well written, Rap Obsession is the image of this demanding and necessary site. Stéphanie Binet

"Rap Obsession, Classic and Instantaneous of French Rap", by Abcdrduson, ed. Marabout, 255 p., 39 €.


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