Despite stating his intentions to wind down his career over a decade ago, legendary French chanteur Charles Aznavour still remains as busy as he ever was, with this 2011 studio album, Toujours, his seventh since the turn of the century. Following his recent collaborative efforts with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and a whole host of global superstars on 2008's Duos, this collection of 12 self-penned tracks shows that the 87-year-old is still capable of cutting it alone. Indeed, he may be one of the last few surviving exponents of the traditional French chanson, but he can still pack a punch, as evident on the jaunty Gypsy jazz of "J'ai Connu," which addresses the genocides that have occurred during his lifetime, and the Bacharach-esque lounge-pop of "Ce Printemps-Là," a love story set against the backdrop of the May 1968 Paris students' revolution, while the twinkling cocktail bar sounds of "Que J'aime Ça" prove that his powers of seduction haven't diminished with age. Elsewhere, Aznavour continues to pursue the Latin vibes of 2007's Colore Ma Vie with the brass-fused bossa nova of "Viens M'Emporter" and the Spanish guitar-led "Flamenco Flamenca"; the shuffling percussion, twinkling keys, and twanging bluesy riffs help create an infectious slice of old-school honky tonk on "Des Coups de Poing"; while "Elle" is an effective uptempo Gallic jazz reworking of his most famous torch song, featuring the vocals of Parisian singer/songwriter Thomas Dutronc. It's admirable that the latter is the only familiar number here, as while his recent output suggested he was quite content to play out his later years constantly revisiting his back catalog, Toujours shows that one or two potential classics may be left in him yet.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien