December 27 — “Graine de Beauté” by Monade


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Graine de Beauté” by Monade (2003, from the album Socialisme ou Barbarie (The Bedroom Recordings)).

Monade was an indie rock/synth rock band from Bordeaux, France. “They” have released three albums, beginning with the 2003 album Socialisme ou Barbarie, and ending with the 2008 record Monstre Cosmic. The “band” was essentially a solo side project for Stereolab’s frontwoman Lætitia Sadier. Between 1996 and 2002, she wrote and recorded a batch of songs that would eventually become the debut album. On the first album, she got “a little help” from her Stereolab mates Tim Gane and the late Mary Hansen. Also helping out were Rosie Cuckston and Matt Eaton from the band Pram.

The “band” name is a reference to a term used by Greek-French philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis. The album name Socialisme ou Barbarie translates to “Socialism or Barbarism”, and is a reference to a Marxist political party founded by Castoriadis. Sadier has always written a lot about Socialism and a lot against Capitalism. I don’t speak French and don’t read it well enough to understand what she’s always on about in her French-speaking Stereolab songs, and I don’t even notice it that much in the English-speaking ones. That, though, has always been the line on Stereolab. Socialism.

Socialisme ou Barbarie came out at a time when I would buy (almost) anything that had even a loose connection with Stereolab, and this one was a no-brainer since it was Lætitia. I eventually got out of that mode. Until just now, I sort of assumed that Socialisme… was a one-off. After those other two records, Lætitia Sadier put out a couple of solo records, including a well-received one this year. I don’t have either of those.

I like the simplicity of tonight’s song. There aren’t a lot of moving parts. As much as I love the complex, multi-layered Stereolab songs, I also like this variation on Stereolab.

“Graine de Beauté” by Monade

I have nothing to add.

You can buy Socialisme ou Barbarie from the amazon store here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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