Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS | Christine and The Queens
Selected by Rayna Khaitan
I was in a fitting room in Le Marais when I first heard Christine and the Queens. I’d taken myself to Paris to resurrect my broken heart, and it seemed to be working. After five days of whirling adventures in La Ville Lumière, I was trying on a dress when a dancey French song caught my attention. I immediately consulted Shazam, but it didn’t work, and the app saved the info for later.
I left the store, but the song stayed, happily toying with my brain. I loved the vocals, yet couldn’t decipher a word. Once back home, I checked Shazam again and discovered the single “Christine” by Christine and the Queens. The sassy track, and others from French singer Héloïse Letissier’s debut album, Chaleur Humaine (2014), were reworked into English versions for her stateside premiere, the self-titled Christine and The Queens (2015).
Although I wish I’d met Christine and The Queens years ago (Letissier’s clever vocal delivery makes for enjoyable listening all the way through), it also fits perfectly that my introduction was in some Parisian boudoir on a trip that hoisted me from post-breakup despair. The album is a reclamation of self-identity, unapologetically assured and fiercely authentic. Since learning of “Tilted,” the English version of “Christine,” I’ve played it hundreds of times, often while running—into what feels like infinity. The line “I’m doing my face with magic marker” always reminds me that I’m free and in charge, no matter how unsteady I sometimes feel.