Robert Charlebois

Immensément

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After a hiatus of four years, Immensément came as a big relief. Robert Charlebois' albums during the 1980s were half-baked pop biscuits, uninspired and uninteresting. Clearly, he needed a change. For Immensément he teamed up with a cousin, poet Jean Charlebois, to write intelligent songs. The lyrics hold dozens and dozens of subtle plays on words and clever ideas. Personifying Canada as an old husband and Québec as a disillusioned wife is not a revolutionary move, but the two Charlebois make it work beautifully in "L'Indépendantriste," this album's biggest hit. Good canvases help, but in the '80s Charlebois had a knack for killing a good idea with horrible "get with the times" production. This time he went for an acoustic, slightly country feel, pioneering the adult pop/rock production values that would become standard for Québec singer/songwriters throughout the decade. The heavy-rock "Hervé Métal" is a failed attempt at self-derision. "Porno," a sleazy jazz ballad, is a lot better, as is the light country tune "Moins Vieux" (Less Old). Radio-friendly, intelligent, good-sounding, and presenting a cast of guests including Jean-Jacques Goldman, Bernard Paganotti, Didier Lockwood, and jazz pianist Oliver Jones, the album was a hit. It won (and deserved) a Victoire (France's Grammys) in 1992. Immensément is the record of an old rocker aging well because he accepts he's aging, and it's much better than Robert Charlebois (aka J'T'Aime Comme un Fou), Super Position, or Dense.

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