Elvis Costello has dropped La Face de Pendule à Coucou EP, which features six Francophone remix versions of three songs from his 2020 Hey Clockface LP. The EP was released digitally at midnight on Thursday, with a vinyl version arriving this summer via Concord Records. Along with the EP release, Costello has shared the lyric video for “Hetty O’Hara Confidentiel.”
One of two French renditions of Hey Clockface‘s “Hetty O’Hara Confidential,” the “Confidentiel” version features Etta Somatis and AJUQ (who plays drums on Hey Clockface) trading verses of the French lyric adaptation penned by AJUQ and his mother Muriel Téodori, who is married to Attractions/Imposters keyboardist Steve Nieve. The other is a remix by Paris-based Afropunk duo Tshegue.
“There’s a uniqueness to the French language,” Pop, whose 2012 LP Après featured many French-language songs, told Rolling Stone. “No other language has vowels that sound like that. Learning a song that’s as quick as ‘No Flag’ took a month of practice because my lips weren’t used to those combinations…I [worked on it] for 40 minutes a day for about five weeks. You don’t want to do too much work on it at once or it’s not fun anymore.”
“You sound absolutely convincing in French,” Costello added. “When I played your version to Muriel she said, ‘This is unbelievable. You’re so inside the song.’ Diana [Krall] and I were both listening to it with tears in our eyes.”
Similar to the “No Flag” approach, “Revolution #49” has two renditions, the previously released spoken version with actress Isabelle Adjani and a sung “Revolution #49 (Chanté).” The latter features Adjani’s vocals intertwining with Steve Nieve’s piano melody. The French lyrics for both versions were written by Téodori.