Christian Messier is a Minnesota-born musician, currently based near Paris, France. After graduating from the conservatory of Lawrence University, Messier began performing around locally in venues such as bars and nursing homes. His move to France brought him closer to the culture and people, and he began writing songs based on his experiences in the country. He is releasing his latest album entitled Europe on My Mind.
Europe on My Mind is a collection of songs that describes the artist’s adventures in Europe. Bilingual in French and English, Messier goes out of his way to produce music that can be described as Franco-American folk pop. His oftentimes stripped-down compositions, centered on the acoustic guitar, certainly does revolve around the folk traditions. Having grown up in a musical household, he was raised listening to classic and folk rock masters such as Credence Clearwater Revival and Queen. With clear crystalline vocals and pensive lyrics, the storytelling in these set of songs are reflective of adventure and journey. And there certainly is a sense of journey to these songs as we traverse from styles and sounds of yesteryear to a more modernized approach. Messier does a great job of merging the two worlds with his evocative blend of indie folk pop.
Europe on My Mind opens with “Ain’t That Just The Way,” where deft finger-picking on the acoustic guitar at first starts off this song. Messier’s vocals come in with a great folksy vibe. The track is simply rendered with a stripped-down sound. With just simply the acoustic guitar at first, eventually the sound of keys trickles in. This is a quiet song that numerates on the bittersweetness of the end of a relationship. The music is soft and lulling.
Following is “Quand Je Pense (A Toi)” which is an upbeat and catchy song. The guitars come in with a vibrant vibe. The percussions provide a lively and jaunty backbeat. The keys are energized and melodic. The vocals are entirely sung in French. Even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics, I could really feel the vibrancy of the emotions pervading from Messier’s touching vocals.
A quiet and meandering piano melody traces “Europe On My Mind” towards the start. Messier’s vocals come in filled with range and flair. He sings in a jazzy show tunes vibe. The vocals sound like they could be from a Broadway show. The sound of horns underscores this track. The piano melody is bright and sunny.
On the closer “Useless Information,” a soft sound comes from the acoustic guitar. The sound quietly underlines the vocals. Messier’s singing is pressing and pervades with a strong sense of urgency. This is a dramatic ballad. The album closes with this dynamic finish. The sounds of lush strings also trace this song.
In the singer/songwriter vein, Messier bares all on these quiet tracks. Their simplicity rings true with emotion simmering softly in the vocals and the soulful quality of the music. With folk roots, these tracks are underscored with a quiet strength that shows off Messier’s range as a vocalist. While the lyrics oftentimes reflect the past, for instance the track “Quel Drole De Chemin” references the French classic “Les Champs-Elysees,” Messier also sings about having a clear-eye vantage point of the future. Anchored in vintage sounds of the past with a footing in the present, Messier presses on with a timeless sound filled with soul and range.
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