Courtesy John Londono
Coeur de Pirate – “Comme des Enfants”
Studies show only seven percent of what we say is communicated through actual words. If that statistic was something like 77 percent, many of Coeur de Pirate’s listeners might have absolutely no idea what she’s singing about.
That’s because Coeur de Pirate, the stage name of 19-year-old Canadian singer and pianist Beatrice Martin, sings entirely in French. The Montreal-based songstress catapulted to MySpace fame in January when Quebec photographer Francois Vachon posted an adorable YouTube video of his baby playing to the bouncy piano-pop of Coeur de Pirate’s “Ensemble.” Now, the singer’s self-titled debut is fighting for the honor of Francophone Album of the Year at this year’s Juno Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys), and the album’s mesmerizing single, “Comme des Enfants,” recently shot to the top of one of the country’s premiere radio charts, becoming the second entirely French song ever to reach No. 1.
“Comme des Enfants,” a charming composition that sounds a little like falling in love for the first time, showcases Martin’s extensive piano skill — honed from 16 years of practice — as well as her captivating, sweet voice. She softly coos, “Et il m’aime encore, et moi je t’aime un peu plus fort” (“And he loves me still, and I love you a little stronger”), but like the Hopelandic jibberish of Sigur Ros, Coeur de Pirate’s lyrics are best understood as emotive sounds supported by exquisite instrumentals.
“C’etait Salement Romantique” is similarly stunning, with Martin’s swelling choruses accompanied by strings and acoustic guitar. On “Francis,” the singer’s performance flirts with the line separating Regina Spektor and The Dresden Dolls, and her nearly spoken lyrics give the song a whimsical appeal.
Some experiences — the snap and crack of a broken heart, the weightlessness of a first kiss — know no language barrier. Lucky for us, neither does Coeur de Pirate.
—By Entertainment Editor Franchesca Winters