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Benjamin Biolay

Benjamin Biolay brings the Argentinian sun in his last album

By Manon Variol

Benjamin Biolay is not known for being light hearted. He embodies the image of the misunderstood artist with his melancholic music and expressionless face. Yet, he surprised us all with his new album Palermo Hollywood.

Benjamin Biolay’s seventh disc was released on 22 April. It brings some latino sounds to his music register. The mix between South American rhythms and the French singer’s deep voice is astonishing when you start listening to it. The combination is perfectly balanced and never falls into the cliché of intoxicating salsa you would dance in the street. Palermo Hollywood is, for sure, latin music. But it still has Biolay’s signature.

The album’s name comes from a suburb of Buenos Aires. It is a tribute to Argentina, where Benjamin Biolay lives several months a year. “This culture is very important to me. I love spending some time there with my children,” the singer confessed. He recorded most of the disc in Buenos Aires with Argentinian musicians to get an authentic sound, but it was not the only reason: “I wanted to cross the Atlantic ocean to eat local food and drink with Argentinians.” In a nutshell, he enjoyed life.

Benjamin Biolay's last album has mainly been recorded in Argentina
Benjamin Biolay's last album was mainly recorded in Argentina

And it could be why this album sounds more joyful than the previous ones. “It was not meant to be cheerful so I guess it is what I needed” Benjamin Biolay explained. “I felt the need to make an album and go back to the studio. And it comes out in the music.” Indeed, you will probably want to dance on La Noche Ya No Existe and Palermo Queens. The singer mixes reggeaton with tango, rock and French variety. He will even surprise you with the lyric voices of Duilio Smiriglia and Valérie Gabail. “I first thought it would be incongruous, then I tried imitating an opera singer. I liked it so I decided to incorporate lyric sounds in the album” he said. 

Benjamin Biolay does not forget the issues of daily life. In Ressources Humaines, he deals with people suddenly losing their jobs. “I have been through this situation, just like my father and many of my friends. Finding a job has become as important as having water” the singer explained. He went on to describe how much worse life is in Argentina, where there is no social security and people need several jobs to feed their families. But he does not want to be called a 'committed' artist. “The creation process is like being in total immersion, for me. So I do not have the time to think about all of these complex situations.

Benjamin Biolay’s tour will start in September. For the moment, London is not on the list, but the French singer already knows he will come and sing in the British capital. In the meantime, enjoy his album !


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