The Ballad of Sebastién Tellier (or Ode to a Lone Ranger)

The Eurovision Song Contest isn’t known by that many Europeans. It should be, if for no other reason than the knowledge of how to avoid accidental exposure. The contest is an utterly perverse, nihilistic assault on all musical and aesthetical sensibilities – a take-no-prisoners orgy of Balearic power ballads and ethno drums, mashed up with hoi polloi euro techno and non-existent hooks. If this in itself is the stuff of nightmares, the effect is only enforced by the fact that the “songs” generally are performed by either overweight transvestites or surgically enhanced blondes, sporting outfits straight from the combined horror cabinettes of H.R. Giger and John Waters*. All in all, a rather excruciating exercise in sheer eurotrash deviance.

Needless to say, it is not a common thing to see real artists cross over to the dark side, and take part in the black mass of dorkiness. Enter Sebastién Tellier, long-time Daft Punk affiliate and household name of the French electronica scene. Not only did he enter the French branch of the competition with the song Divine – he won it, and will represent the Tricolore in the Belgrade final on the 24th of May.

Much like Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, Tellier’s Rasputin looks are utterly misleading. Rather than the expected seedy stoner rock joint, the track is a glorious little Beach Boys by way of Jean-Michel Jarre ditty, complete with doo-wop harmonies and all. I for one will push my chips for Sebastién Tellier in Belgrade, come May**. Who knows what will follow his path – Interpol competing for GB, 22 Pistepirkko for Finland or The Knife for Sweden?

*Samples of the monstrosities committed to tape can be found here and here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

**(Oh, and don’t miss out his new release, Sexuality, either. Not only is Sexual Sportswear the best song title in a very long time – the album itself is a worthy contender for the best electronica release of March, along with the Hercules & the Love Affair debut.)

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