Marie Carmen – Dans La Peau (1988)

This debut album from the French-Canadian singer, who first found international fame with Luc Plamondon’s “Starmania,” makes a strong case for the strengths of late 1980s-early 1990s radio-friendly Quebecois rock: The lyrics are clear, direct and sophisticated, the music is incredibly well-sequenced, and Carmen’s vocals are strong and forceful. From “Piaf Chanterait Du Rock” (where Carmen celebrates French vocalist Edith Piaf with palpable passion) to “Tu T’en Vas” and “T’oublier,” it’s a compelling, heartfelt pop-rock album that feels like a French-Canadian cousin to Cher’s rather similar 1989 smash “Heart of Stone.” My personal favorite is “Poupee De Porcelaine (Parle Moi),” which carefully rises to a rousing, stirring climax.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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