“Fluctuat nec mergitur” roughly translated means “she is tossed by the waves but does not sink”. A fitting motto for the city of Paris, as well as singer-songwriter Sarah Lassez, as the spirit of the city is all over her new single Ziegfeld Girl.
The song, which charts the downfall of the titular Ziegfeld girl, has a feel to it that is uniquely Parisian, and not just because that’s where the story is set. There are certain musical signifiers that help ground the song with a sense of place. Most songs don’t bother with a location as it’s just the feeling that is important, but Lassez has a writer’s eye for detail as Ziegfeld Girl is more like a short story put to music.
And what a story it is: full of heartbreak, melancholy, a sprinkle of humour, and woe, all offset by Lassez bright vocal delivery. There is a sense of disconnection within the song that actually benefits it. You don’t rush to the idea that the Ziegfeld Girl is actually Lassez herself (even though it probably is) – instead Lassez fulfils the role of narrator, helping the listener to engage with this character without the preconceptions that most artist bring to their work. It’s a compelling story that Lassez tells, a story that, no matter what her role is in it, it still has her soul.
Ziegfeld Girl is from Sarah Lassez’s upcoming EP, Paris in Tears, which is out on May 12th.
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